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M' !'-' ' i\ r. rT> i\ K iJ V J', 

.'H tj V:;;: J .i 









Wilt Sttntrg flf % ^iljer Mit 







1854. >J 








































3. ABERYSTWITH opposite paob 8 






9. BUILTH 85 


11. HAY 98 

12. HEREFORD 100 

18. ROSS 109 





18. NEW WEIR 132 

19. MONMOUTH 188 


21. BROCKWEIR 147 




24. BANAGOR CRAGS Poge 154 

25. CHEParrOW castle Ac (fbom wnrDCLirr) .. 157 


2«. TENBY •• IW 






84. CARDIGAN 204 








42. PONT Y PRYDD 284 

48. VALE OF NEATH 289 


45. CRAIG Y DINAS 292 















Devil's Bridge. 

Nanteos Park. 


Strata Florida. 



Abbey Cwm Hir. 

Radnor Forest. 










Clifford Castle. 

Bishop's Wood. 






AcotUmry ffUl, 




ColdweU Bocks. 




Aust Cliffs. 
Bristol Channel. 





St. Govan's Head. 

Stackpole Court. 

Carew Castle. 



Troy Park. 








St. David's. 

The Sea. 

Picton Castle. 

The Sea. 


Precelly Mountain. 



Dryslyn Castle. 


Carmarthen Bay. 

The Sea. 


Carreg Ceunen Castle. 





Old Castle. 


Swansea Bay. 



The Severn. 




Pont Neath Yaughan. 











When that sweet April showers with downward shoot 

The draught of March have pierced unto the root^ 

And bath^ every vein with liquid power, 

'Whose virtue rare engendereth the flower; 

When Zephyrus also with his fragrant breath 

Inspired hath in every grove and heath 

The tender shoots of green, and the young sun 

Hath in the Ram one half his journey run. 

And small birds in the trees make melody. 

And sleep and dream all night with open eye ; 

Bo nature stirs all energies and ages 

That folks are bent to go on pilgrimages, 

And palmers for to wander through strange strands. 

To sing the holy mass in sundry lands. 

Chaucbs Modervizxd. 

South Wales^ the land of superstitions^ and the 
battle-field of civil strifes, — ^the country in which the 
rival crowns of the Principality contended for un- 
divided sway, — ^the historic soil over which the Saxon, 
Roman, and Norman forces poured the full tide of 
their bloody course, — may not, perhaps, be so distinctly 
marked as its neighbour of the North by the prouder 
features of Nature; but it is, nevertheless, more rich 



in thode peculiarities which verify the condition of the 
human mind in its stages of ignorance, and in its pro- 
gressive advances towards civilisation, and more rife in 
those strange incidents which render history most in- 
teresting to the chronicler, the philosopher, and the 
general reader. 

I do not mean by the admission which the preceding 
remark may seem to sanction, to relinquish any tenable 
ground of comparison with the sublime realities of the 
northern part of the Principality; but if the gentle 
reader, who may have journeyed with me in my former 
wanderings, will follow me through these records of 
my spring and summer pilgrimage, I think I shall fur- 
nish to him such abundant illustrations to attest the 
grandeur that reigns on the mountains, and the grace 
that dwells in the valleys of the southern counties of 
"Wales, as shall place his judgment in that situation of 
delightful indecision, in which the painter has drawn 
the celebrated Oarrick betwixt the rival Muses; or, 
feeling his curiosity stimulated by the time he has read 
thus far, shall induce him abruptly to say, with the 
impatient Pandarus, 

"Come, draw the curtain, and let's see your picture.** 

The Welsh, among their national apothegms, have 
this descriptive and poetical triad : — " There are three 
indispensable requisites of genius: an eye to see na- 
ture, a heart to love nature, and boldness and per- 
severance to go along with nature/' Let the reader, 
then, if he possess an atom of this quality, in whatever 
distant county of " merry England'^ he may chance to 
have his domicile, put on his boot of leagues, and in 


a trice we shall appear like two waj-wom pilgrims^ 
threading our way through the mazy streets of that gay 
and busy watering-place, Aberystwith, and after tarry- 
ing there awhile, commence together our travels amidst 
the majestic and beautiful scenes of this ancient land of 
the Silures and Dimetse. 

Aberystwith is delightfully situated on the north 
bank of the Bheidol, in the centre of Cardigan Bay, 
commanding a sea-view of great extent, and of that 
sublime beauty inseparable from a marine prospect 
bounded only by the horizon. The hills of the North 
Welsh coast are distinctly seen on a clear day stretch- 
ing far out in the distance, the chain ending with the 
promontory of Llyn and Bardsey Island; Snowdon, 
Cader Idris, and the forked summits of the Merioneth- 
shire hills, are sometimes discerned ; and on the south, 
the coast may be traced as far as St. David's Head. 
The whole of this ocean amphitheatre was formerly dry 
land, and the greater portion remained so until the 
sixth century, when Gwyddno Garan Hir was the reign- 
ing prince of the district. It was named Cantrev y 
Gwaelod, the Lowland hundred, and is mentioned by 
the Welsh bards and historians (indeed, the tei*ms are 
synonymous) as being fertile and beautiful in the 
highest degree, and containing sixteen fortified towns, 
and a large population. The fine champaign country 
extended from Harlech to St. David's Head, and was 
wholly destroyed by an inundation of the sea, the 
waters of St. George's Channel having burst over their 
wonted boundaries, and covered its entire extent. Thus 
was formed the present Bay of Cardigan, whose deep 
blue waves now roll over many a ruined city and once- 

B 2 


mighty fortress lying in irretrievable desolation beneath 
them. The cause of this calamity is attributed by the 
old historians of Wales to the intoxication of Seithynin^ 
the son of Saidde^ \rho had the care of the sluices^ and 
neglected to drop them on the coming in of the tide.* 
The words of the " old Bard'' may be read as a literal 
description of the melancholy event just related — 

"Time baa wrought changes in thii aoctent earth 1 
The sea now overlays the land where smiled 
The early Spring ; — where Spring grew on to Autamoiy 
And perfumed buds ripened to glossy fruit. 
Man flourished there, anticipating man 1 
And laughing childhood with its thousand pranks; 
Cities were there, thronged, walled, and turreted; 
But in one fatal night those babbling tongues 
Were hushed. The dandng Seasons come no more 
With flowers and fruit— cities and castles, 
Domestic halls and altars, warriors and peaceful meD, 
And houHehold loves, lie grov'ling there amidst 
The dank sea-weeds. Old Ooean*8 dreary wail 
Sings the sad story, — that a land is lost" 

The Castle Hill forms a favourite promenade for tbe 
visitors at Aberystwith^ from its commanding and pic- 
turesque situation, sweeping the whole coast^ and look- 
ing down upon the contiguous mouths of the Ystwith 
and the Rheidol on one side^ and the beautiful vale 
whicb descends with the latter river, on the other ; but 
each year so much reduces its seaward cliffs, that they^ 
and their hoary ruin-crest, must eventually be swept 
away. The base of this small promontory is oom- 

* Mr. Lewis Morris, the antiquary, found on the coast of Merioneth^ 
a stone in the sands, about a hundred yards below water-mark, with 
this inscription in Roman letters : " Hie jacet Calixtus Monedo Regi.*' 
Here lies the boatman to King Gwyddno. 


pletely cavemed by the breakers that dash, and foam, 
and thunder in its hollow sides, making most dread, 
but "eloquent music,^' and flinging their light spray 
over the sea-beat cliffs. 

Aberystwith Castle now consists but of a few frag- 
ments, among which remain parts of two small towers, 
and one more lofty, with a gateway. It appears to 
have been an important post in times of warfare, and 
is stated to have been originally built by Gilbert de 
Strongbow, son of Richard de Clare, about the year 
1107. Henry I. having given Strongbow permission 
to win for himself the inheritance of Cadwgan ap 
Bleddyn, the invader succeeded in his unjust enterprise, 
and erected two castles, one at Aberystwith, and an- 
other in Pembrokeshire, for the protection of his ill- 
gotten territory. In 1111, Prince Gruffydd ap Rhys 
came over from Ireland, where he had resided from his 
childhood, and, being suspected of a desire for sove- 
reignty, he became embroiled with the invaders, and 
encamped between Llanbadam and Aberystwith to 
besiege the castle. In his attempt he was defeated by a 
ruse de guerre of the lieutenant of the earl of Clare, 
governor of that fortress. The lieutenant, who had 
been expecting all day the attack of the enemy, sent 
out some of his skirmishers in the evening towards the 
bridge which crosses the river, to entice the troops of 
Gruffydd into an ambuscade which he had prepared. 
The manoeuvre succeeded. "The Welshmen,'' says 
their own historian, Powell, "approached and skir- 
mished with them, and suddenlie issued forth one 
horseman, and would have passed the bridge, but his 
horse was wounded with a pike^ and began to faile, 


andj as he retnmed to the footemen^ he fell off his 
hone, and the Welshmen panned him o?er the bridge. 
When the Englishmen saw that, they fled towards the 
castcU, and the Welshmen followed to the hill top, and 
snddenlie the ambush of horsemen, that laid under the 
hill, thrust betwixt them that had passed orer the 
bridge, and they that fled turned back with more 
strength, and so the Welshmen were encompassed on 
cither side, and the bridge so kept that no rescue could 
come to them, where they were slain for the most part, 
being all naked men. Then the rest seeing the great 
number of the men armed, which they looked not for, 
turned backe, and departed the countrie.'' In another 
attack, however, he took and razed the fort, slew the 
Normans and Saxons who were settled in Cardiganshire, 
and restored to the Welsh the lands and habitations of 
which they had been despoiled. The castle was rein- 
stated by Cadwallader, son of Grufiydd ap Conan, and 
destroyed by his brother, Owen Gwyneth. It continued 
to experience all the changeful fortune of predatory 
warfare, alternately fortified and overthrown. Doubt- 
less it was no very difficult matter to demolish the for- 
tifications then used ; but, in course of time, a more 
powerful master possessed it, and even his provisions 
for its defence were of little avail against the desperate 
and enthusiastic struggles of expiring liberty. Edward I. 
rebuilt this castle in the year 1277, and retnmed to 
England in triumph; but the rulers of the marches 
exercised too great severities for peace long to continue 
between the prince of Wales and the king of England. 
The year before the subjection of the Welsh was 
scaled, they numbered among their many brief but 


brilliant saccesses^ the capture of this newly-erected 
English fortress. Many more of the invader's strong- 
holds were at the same time taken by the Welsb^ and 
all the partisans of foreign domination were severely 
harassed throughout the country. In the year 1404, 
Aberystwith Castle was taken by Owen Glyndwr. In 
the time of Charles I.^ the Parliament permitted it to 
be used as a mint ; some of the pieces of money coined 
there are frequent in antiquarians^ collections, and were 
of silver from the neighbouring mines. During all the 
Welsh wars, this fortress was considered of great im- 
portance, and, daring the civil wars, was regarded as 
a place of considerable strength. The last and most 
destructive siege it endured was in the time of the Pro- 
tectorship^ when it was bombarded by the Parliamen- 
tary troops, while Mr. Bushel held it for the Royalists.* 
The besiegers occupied a high mount, called Pen-dinas, 
on the opposite side of the Rheidol, where Prince Bhys 
had formerly made an intrenchment; and since the 
overthrow the castle then received, a heap of ruins 
only has been left to tell of its ancient strength and 
About a mile firom Aberystwith, on the banks of the 

* Mr. Bushel establuhed a mint at this place, under license from the 
king, for coining his silver to defray the current expenses of Lis yarious 
works. This gentleman was once the servant of Sir Francis Bacon. 
He became afterwards the proprietor of the silver-mines in this neigh- 
bourhood ; and such were his immense profits, that he made King 
Charles a present of a regiment of horse, and clothed his whole armj. 
Besides these, he furnished to that monarch a loan of £40,000 towards 
his necessities, which was afterwards converted into a gift; and when 
the unfortunate king was sore pressed, he raised a regiment among 
his miners at his own charge. 


Rheidol, are the remains of an old fortified mansion, 
which the yulgar call Owen Oljmdwr's Palace, hot 
which was supposed to have been erected by the monks 
of Llanbadaru Fawr, the site of whose monastery was 
contiguous. Of the date of this building nothing now 
is certainly known. It is believed to have been the 
residence of the early princes of Wales ; for it is men- 
tioned by the bard Eineon ap Owgan, who flourished 
in 1244, in his ode on Llewelyn the Great : — 

" Hia spear flashes in the hand accuBtomed to warlike deeds ; 
It kills, and puts his enemies to flight, by the palace of the BheidoL* 

Of this monastery nothing remains save the church, 
which is of great, antiquity, and most beautifully 
situated in the lovely vale of the Rheidol. It is 
believed by some, that subterranean passages led from 
this monastery to the fortified mansion above men- 
tioned, Flas Crug, and likewise to Aberystwith Castle ; 
but I need hardly remark, that none are known to 
exist at present. Llanbadam — the great church of 
St. Badarn — is supposed to be the Mauritanea where 
St. Padam or Patemus founded a monastery and an 
episcopal see in the sixth qpntury. St. Padam seems 
to have been a most ill-used person, for it is recorded 
that he not only performed the functions of his office 
without reward, but alleviated the distresses of the 
poor as far as his ability permitted ; and yet these 
ungrateful people killed their kind-hearted archbishop, 
and, as a punishment for their crime, the bishopric was 
sunk in that of St. David, though in the time of 
Giraldus there was still an abbey under the jurisdiction 
of a layman. "Vilify not thy parish priest," is a 
Welsh proverb arising out of this act of cruelty, and 


consequent degradation of this see. " There never 
was a good person of them since/' is another provincial 
sayings and shows how deeply the inhabitants of this 
place had fallen in the estimation of their coantrymen. 
The monuments in Llanbadarn Church must not be 
forgotten, amongst which is one, consisting of a long 
flat stone in the chancel, to the memory of Lewis 
Morris, the Welsh antiquary. The records of this 
excellent man's life display the struggles of genius and 
perseverance amidst difiSculties and poverty, in their 
onward path to fame and respectability, with which he 
was ultimately rewarded. He was, at the same time, 
in relation to Welsh literature, critic and historian, 
poet and musician. In this latter capacity, he taught 
Mr. Parry, the blind bard, to strike his harp to the 
simple notes of his native land, and to awaken, with 
such exquisite effect, those thrilling melodies which 
slept amongst the chords of his favourite instrument. 
He died at the age of sixty-three, and left his valuable 
collection of manuscripts to the Welsh Charity School, 
in Gray's-Inn Lane, London. Llanbadarn was a city 
in 987, and was destroyed by the Danes in the reign of 
Meredydd ap Owen. In now consists chiefly of low, 
mean c6ttages, with a few of a better description, and 
one or two good houses ; but at a distance is a very 
pretty-looking village, in one of the loveliest valleys 
imaginable. The Rheidol winds through it in a suc- 
cession of graceful bends, beneath rich hanging woods, 
craggy mountains, and fair pastures; with here and 
there a white cottage peering from among the trees, 
and sending up its curling blue smoke, as if to tempt 
the mimic pencil of the artist. 

The Rheidol is crossed near Llanbadarn by a small 



bridge, and at Abemtwith by one of five arcbea, over- 
looking the harbour, which is small and inconvenient, 
and the bar at its mouth prevents vessels of any size 
entering, except at spring tides. Many lives are lost, 
and others constantly endangered, for want of a eom« 
paratively trifling expenditure in rendering this harbour 
a safe and commodious one : and when we consider the 
immense advantages the town and neighbourhood would 
derive firom an improvement so much needed, and so 
readily to be accomplished, it does seem a marvellous 
thing, in these enterprising times, that the evil should 
be tolerated so long. 

The town of Aberystwith certainly has not much to 
engage the attention of the tourist; irregular streets, 
running in a maze-like confusion, compose its greater 
part; and these, with sorrow be it said, are thickly 
adorned with alehouse-signs. The Marine Terrace, 
however, is an exceedingly agreeable promenade, form- 
ing a semicircle on the margin of the sea, and consisting 
chiefly of comfortable lodging-houses for the accommo- 
dation of visitors. Bounded on the north end by the 
high rock called Craiglais, or Constitution Hill, and 
on the south by the castle ruins, it commands in front 
an uninterrupted view of the ocean, which, at Aberyst- 
with, shows its grandest characteristics. A stiff gale 
blew for some days after my arrival, and, as I sat in 
my quiet study, on the terrace, I could see the grand 
waves come rolling in, each like a huge living moun- 
tain, bending its proud head over the cavernous depth 
below, before taking its last landward leap, in scattered, 
feathery foam; another and another close behind, in 
endless succession, seemed as if the ocean's boundaries 













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I %:^ * 




l^JL . 

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bad become too narrow for tbe world of waters they 
contain, and I almost expected Neptune's roaring sea^ 
lions to overleap their allotted bonrn, and give a re- 
enactment of tbe Cantrev y Gwaelod tragedy. 

In the midst of a dark storm one evening, a sloop, 
seen through the drifting rain and haze, like a spectre 
of the sea, appeared about three miles out, making for 
the harbour, with her sails set, and running before the 
wind at a gallant rate through a tremendous sea, which 
seemed alternately to engulf her in its dark abysses, 
and fling her aloft like a toy on the waves' white crest. 
A more tempestuous evening has seldom been known 
here, and the most intense anxiety pervaded all classes 
lest the vessel should be lost, of which there seemed 
but too great probability. Hundreds of persons, both 
visitors and inhabitants of Aberystwith, were seen 
hastening to the Harbour : and not a few ladies braved 
the storm, though scarcely able to proceed, from the 
excessive violence of the wind. Every spot commanding 
a view of the sloop was crowded by eager and anxious 
spectators; some trembling for the fate of husbands, 
brothers, or friends, who they believed were on board, 
— and screaming vrith agony, as the huge waves half- 
hid the objects of their solicitude from view* But she 
came along swiftly and unswervingly, — 

" She walked the waters like a tluDg of life^ 
And seemed to dare the elements to strife.** 

As she neared the bar, the anxiety of the assembled 
crowd became doubly intense, and yet more painful 
when the shrill screams of children were heard from 
the vessel, through all the deep roaring of the winds 


and waves. ADother minute of breatUess fear, and 
the perilous bar was cleared — ^all lives were safe ! The 
captain and owner of the sloop had been her pilot, and 
the screams heard were from two of his own children, 
who had been lashed to the mast during the gale. I 
have since been informed that he is esteemed the most 
skilful sailor in the country ; and the gallant bearing 
of his beautiful little vessel well proves the truth of 
such report. 

Since writing the preceding, I have heard with great 
pleasure that some of the leading country gentlemen 
and residents in Aberystwith have most liberally com- 
menced a subscription for the purpose of improving 
the harbour, and thus lessening the danger to vessels 
entering it. 

A fantastic-looking building, half Gothic castle, half 
Italian villa, stands between the church and the sea ; 
it was built by the late Sir Uvedale Price, but is now 
used as a lodging-house. Ghost-stories are becoming 
rare even in Cambria's mystic land ; but this castle- 
house, as it is termed, is said to be patronized by a 
spiritual resident in the form of a "White Lady,'* 
who is, by some imaginative persons, supposed to 
occupy one of its octagon towers. I have very dili- 
gently perambulated about the lady's haunts, at all 
hours of the day, and when the dim twilight gave a 
supernatural colouring even to common-place person- 
ages; but my seaside musings have never been spec- 
trally discomposed, and so I cannot add the precious 
testimony of eyewitness-ship to this "White Lady" 

The church of Aberystwith is a modem structure. 


and possesses no beauty^ but good accommodation for 
its numerous congregation. Adjoining the burial- 
ground is a pleasant garden^ the sweet perfumes from 
which often greeted me while roaming near the gaily- 
hued inclosure. Gardens are generally rare and 
meagre near the seashore; but this seems guarded 
by some kind fairy^ who sheds the softest tints and 
sweetest fragrance on her favourites. 

Wild flowers, ''the philanthropists of their race/' 
are abundant on the hills around; delicate harebeUs, 
waving on their light stems, proud foxgloves, glowing 
purple heather, and golden gorse, shine out in starry 
beauty from bank and moorland : — 

" And are they not the stars of earth f Doth not 
Our memory of their bright and Taried forms 
Wind hack to childhood's days of guileless sporty 
When these &miliar friends of later years 
A beauty and a mysteiy remained 1 
And were they not to infant eyes more dear 
£*en than their starry kindred t For one glance 
Of wondering love we lifted to the vault 
Of the o'er-orbed sky, have we not bent 
Full many a glance of pleased aflfection down 
To the green field, starred over with its hosts 
Of daisies, countless as the blades of grass 
'Midst which they seemed to look and laugh at us?"* 

The beach generally presents an amusing appearance 
to a stranger, and although I have been a performer in 
the scene, it afforded me equal entertainment. There 

* From " The Bomance of Nature ; or, the Flower-Seasons illus- 
trated," by Louisa Anne Twamley, now Mrs. Meredith. The poems 
in this highly interesting and elegant work are of great beauty, and 
are distinguished for original thought and bold and expressive imagery, 
as well as for a peculiarly musical flow of language. 


are occasionally found here Taluable pebbles of agate, 
jasper, &c., and many small crystals; accordingly, 
every one who visits Aberystwith expects to carry away 
a world of wealth " of his or her own picking up ;** and 
this picking-up fimcy becomes a serious business. On 
propitious 'days there appears on the shining beach an 
army of treasure-seekers, each with a small basket to 
hold the jewels; and there they are, rank and file, 
from mom till dewy eve, with bending backs and 
downcast eyes ! while hands, feet, parasols, camp-stools, 
and oyster-shells, are enlisted into the service. Let 
any Aberystwith visitor gainsay it who will, this in the 
favourite amusement for all ages, sizes, sexes, and 
classes, — from the peer to the postilion who brought 
him the last stage, and from the delicate invalid lady 
to the little barefooted Welsh wench up to her knees 
in the surf. It becomes an inveterate habit; one 
would think some sea-sprite threw a spell over us so 
soon as our footsteps press the enchanted strand, for no 
one escapes the infliction — and lumbago, rheumatism, 
and other consequent ills too often follow the avaricious 
exploit. For these visitors, however, there is a speedy 
and luxurious cure in the excellent and commodious 
warm baths, of which there are several on the terrace, 
and in other parts of the town; also a chalybeate 
spring at a short distance. 

Nor is Aberystwith without the usual public amuse- 
ments of a fashionable watering-place, for those whose 
health or inclination leads them to seek the gay as 
well as the picturesque : here are balls, races, theatri- 
cals, &;c. ; and to all who are fortunate in finding kind 
friends and pleasant acquaintance among the residents 


or yisitors^ this may well be selected as a summer 
retreat for successive years. The bathing is excellent ; 
and the number of pleasure-boats always employed, 
proves how much the sea-excursions in the neighbour- 
hood are enjoyed. The excellent fishing in the Rheidol 
and the Ystwith, tempting to disciples of quaint plea- 
sant old Isaac Walton, calls forth many a merry party 
of anglers to the delicious vales of these winding rivers. 
It appears singular that the Ystwith should give its 
name to the town — Aber-Ysitoith, the mouth of the 
Ystwith, — since the Bheidol flows through it, and only 
joins the Ystwith at some distance, when they both 
fall into the sea together. The town in this situation 
was called Aber-Rheidol about the time of our First 
Henry, but when the name was changed is not correctly 
known ; it was also called Llanbadam Gaerog, or the 
fortified Llanbadam, from its nearly adjoining that once 
great city. 

Some delightful excursions may be made from Aber- 
ystwith, among the grand and romantic scenery of 
Cardigan's mountains and glens. First in beauty as in 
popularity, is the oft-praised, but indescribable spot, 
where the Devil's Bridge frowns over its sublime and 
perilous chasm. The road from Aberystwith to the 
bridge is rejiete with beauty of varied character. On 
quitting the town, we ascend steep hills, wearisome 
alike to man and horse, till, from the summit, is gained 
a view of the lovely vale of the Rheidol, with its fan- 
tastic winding stream, flowing in silvery, snake-like 
corves throughout, and "the everlasting hills'' on 
either side lifting their hoary summits to ,the sky; ' 
while in the inland distance " hir.s above hiUs, and alps 


on alps arise/^ with Plinlimmon's many-beaconed head, 
turbaned with clouds high above them aD, like the 
monarch of the mountain realm that lies in proud sub- 
jection around his mighty throne. 

Gradually the valley narrows as we recede from the 
sea, until, on abruptly turning round a singular conical 
rock, the strange and wondrously beautiful scene, which 
has so long alike baffled the descriptive pen and the 
mimic pencil, bursts in all its grandeur on the delighted 
eye. The glen of the Rheidol, narrowed to a ravine, 
down which a roaring cataract pours its inexhaustible 
waters, lies before the gazer — and the terrific chasm of 
the Mynach yawns beneath his feet at a dizzy depth 
below. It is a scene to be feasted on, trembled at, 
and dreamed of, sleeping and waking ; but not to be 
preconceived, painted, or described. The bridge con- 
sists of two arches, one immediately above the other. 
The lower arch is of great antiquity, and supposed to 
have been built by the monks of Ystrad Flur, or Strata 
Florida Abbey ; but antiquarians are not agreed on this 
point, as tradition fixes the erection of the bridge in 
1087, and the Abbey of Strata Florida was not founded 
till 1164. Giraldus Cambrensis mentions having passed 
over it in 1188, when preaching the crusades with 
Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury. The wild and 
stupendous scenery surrounding this spot greatly en- 
hances the terrific grandeur of the ravine, and no doubt 
had its share in the origin of the vulgar denomination 
it has received ; all appearances both in art and nature, 
which were beyond the comprehension of the simple 
and superstitious people of past dark ages, were without 
hesitation attributed to " his majesty of ebon wing ;" 


and many are the sublime and extraordinary scenes 
popularly resigned to his patronage. 

Grand as is the view from the bridge itself, when the 
half-dizzy gazer looks down into the dread abyss, yet 
he is then* unable to form any adequate idea of the 
Tastness, the gloomy magnificence of the scene, as seen 
from below. Passing over the bridge from the inn, and 
descending a steep and rather dangerous path to the 
right hand, the wonderful chasm over which the arches 
are thrown is viewed to the greatest advantage. It 
appears a narrow and perpendicular fissure in a solid 
rock, one hundred and fourteen feet in height ;> the 
singular old arch spans it about twenty feet below the 
new one, and a double gloom is thus given to the natu- 
rally dark abyss, at the bottom of which the impetuous 
Mynach foams and boils along, roaring as if in wrath 
at the mighty rocks which gird in its chafed and rapid 
waters. It is a fearful scene ! The black and riven 
precipitous rock, which reared its form of darkness 
before me, seemed to shut out all of calm and beauty 
which the world contained, and to spread its own region 
of wild desolation around. If a traveller have only 
time to descend one path at the Devil^s Bridge, let him 
choose this. In many situations he may see cascades, 
but the extraordinary chasm at this place is one of 
Nature's inexplicable freaks, and a single specimen is 
all she vouchsafes us. Although the depth of the 
fissure, at the least computation, is one hundred and 
fourteen feet, and may be probably more, the width of 
the aperture, in some places, does not exceed fifteen 
inches; it is, therefore, evidently impossible that the 
river could be the original cause of the chasm, as sup- 



posed by some tourists; thoagh its waters having found 
an outlet, they have no doubt continued to widen and 
deepen their confined channel. 

After regaining the bridge, another hazardous path 
is descended on the opposite side, through a wood, and 
round an abrupt point of rock, to view the four falls 
of the Mynach, when it escapes from its imprisoning 
ravine, and rushes down to meet the Rheidol, which is 
seen rolling in a magnificent cascade between two grand 
swelling hills in an opposite direction. 

The third path, down which the guide conducts 
visitors, is formed by the side of the falls, and com- 
mands very beautiful views of them individually; the 
first is twenty-four feet, the second fifty-six, the third 
eighteen, and the fourth, or grand cataract, one hun- 
dred and ten. In this admeasurement no allowance is 
made for the inclined direction of the river in many 
parts; the total height, from the bridge to the level of 
the stream when it joins the Bheidol, is about five 
hundred feet. At the jut of the lowest fall in the 
rock is a cave, said to have been inhabited by robbers, 
two brothers and a sister, called Plant Mat, or Plant 
Fat, who used to steal and sell the cattle of their neigh- 
bours, and whose retreat was not discovered for many 
years. The entrance being just sufficient to make 
darkness visible, and admitting but one at a time, they 
were able to defend it against hundreds. At length, 
however, they were taken, after having committed a 
murder, for which they were tried, condemned, and 
executed. The sides of the dingles are richly wooded, 
and the interlacing foliage of the trees sometimes 
almost embowers the cataract, while the stupendous hills. 


that rise high on either side^ are decked with bright 
clusters of mountain-blossoms ; heath and wild thyme 
shed a purple glow over the hoary crags^ and the differ- 
ent yellow and white flowers gem the verdant carpet 
with '' treasures of silver and gold ; " for the spray, 
incessantly flung up by the foaming waters, falls in a 
gentle shower around, *^ making the ground one eme- 
rald.^' As I sat contemplating the magnificent scene 
before me, where the last great plunge throws the 
water one hundred and ten feet down the rugged 
chasm, I felt how accurately descriptive are Byron's 
lines on the Falls of Terni ; they echo the spirit-voices 
that we seem to hear around us in such a scene. 

"The roar of waters! — from, the headlong height 
Velino cleaves the waTe-wom precipice; 
The hIL of waters!— rapid as the light; 
The flashing mass foams, shaking the ahyss ; 
The hell of waters I where they howl and hiss 
And boil in endless torture!" 

After the fatigues of these ascents and descents from 
and to the *' Acherontic stream," the comforts of the 
Hafod Arms Inn are right welcome ; and a wanderer 
may spend a pleasant and profitable evening in '^ chew- 
ing the cud of sweet and bitter fancies" arising out of 
the scenes with which his senses have been fed during 
the day. 





Here balmy air^ and iprings as ether dear. 
Fresh dowDS and limpid rills, and daisied meads. 
Delight the eje, reanimate the heart, 
And on the florid cheek emboss the rose 
"Mid sweetest dimples and uufeign6d smiles. 
Here shepherd swains, attentive to their charge, 
Distent o'er hillocks green, or mountains hnge. 
Mantled with purple heath. 

YoTAOS OF LiFB, by the Rev. David Lloyd, 

The usual custom being to visit Hafod from the 
DeviFs Bridge^ and I^ like a systematic and orderly 
wanderer, having followed the example of my prede- 
cessors in the vagrant line, my readers, in like manner, 
will be good enough to follow me while I retrace my 
steps to that /onner '' paradise of dainty devices." 

The road to Hafod lies through a wildly mountainous 
tract of country, at first overlooking the deep dingle 
where the foaming Mynach tears its angry way; and 
then over the brow of a hill commanding an extensive 
and richly-varied prospect. At the summit of this hill, 
an arch is thrown across the road, and being seen for a 
considerable distance on either side, it forms a pictu- 
resque object in the landscape ; though to a stranger it 
holds out a deceitfid promise of some more interesting 

BAFOD. 21 

and ancient fabric than the mere ornamental creation 
of a neighbouring landowner. From this arch the 
road descends somewhat steeply, and a tarn to the right 
leads to a lodge, at which the grounds of Hafod are 
entered. Here the view becomes extremely beautiful; 
richly-wooded hills rise around, leaving a valley of 
lawns and groves, through which the Ystwith takes its 
ever-varying course, now plunging down a rocky ravine 
in a sheet of white and glittering foam — now flowing 
darkly along, shadowed by the graceful branches of 
the mountain-ash, and the delicate birken spray, while 
the sturdy king of the woods, the massive-foliaged 
oak, groups more heavily and richly with the glossy 
Spanish chestnut and the darksome fir. A lovely road 
along this lawny vale at one graceful sweep brings the 
visitor in front of the mansion, the exterior of which 
is the only part that the present owner suffers the eyes 
of curious tourists to be edified by examining; and 
this, though sufficiently elegant for the residence of 
both the affluent and tasteful, certainly possesses none 
of the magical attributes which certain writers are 
ambitious to invest it with. The original mansion of 
Hafod was nearly destroyed by fire, in 1807, with many 
of its valuable manuscripts, books, and pictures. A 
new mansion, however, arose under the genius of its 
late tasteful proprietor, equal in extent to the former 
one, which, after his death, with his estate, passed into 
the hands of trustees. 

The description of Hafod, so laboriously essayed by 
some Mr. Cumberland, I find quoted in almost every 
guide-book; of course it is considered the neplus ultra 
of the sublime and beautiful ; and as my readers will 

23 HAFOD. 

look in vain for so dainty a paragraph in my homely 
composition^ I cannot refuse them the advantage of 
perusing this choice specimen : — " Wales and its bor- 
ders, both North and South, abound at intervals with 
fine things : Piercefield has grounds of great magnifi- 
cence, and wonderfully picturesque beauty ; Downton 
Castle has a delicious woody vale, most tastefully 
managed; Llangollen is brilliant; the banks of the 
Conway savagely grand ; Barmouth romantically rural ; 
the great Pistyll Rhayader horribly wild; Rhayader 
Wennol gay, and gloriously irregular; but at Hafod 
I find the efiects of all in one circle,'' &c. &c. 

The grounds of Hafod are highly favoured by nature, 
in variety of form ; and Art has lent her improving 
hand so gracefully and naturally, that we forget she 
has so much to claim in the beauty of the place : but 
its late proprietor, and we might almost say creator, 
well knew how to blend the wild and the cultivated in 
harmonious union. Colonel Johnes, the late lamented 
and excellent owner of this immense estate, planted 
nearly three millions of trees upon bare heathery hills, 
where now rich hanging woods form so striking a con- 
trast to the adjacent scenery. Under his fostering and 
unwearied care, the spot he selected to work his wizard- 
like change upon, became such, as, in some measure, 
to warrant even the extravagant praise bestowed on it ; 
but now, the beauty is fast waning in the neglect and 
general absence of its present proprietor ; the pleasant 
and well-kept walks have become quagmires, and where 
a garden once shed its many perfumes on the air, 
inviting the approach of wandering guests, now a 
wilderness of tall grass and rank dandelions fills the 


space. The stranger-loving bird, too, of which travel- 
lers have spoken, with its triple yellow crest, that used 
to delight in making the acquaintance of all pilgrims 
to Hafod, and to entertain them with its imitative 
notes, is dead. The beautiful cascades, the rocks, the 
woods, and the gentle wild-flowers, still wear their 
wonted looks of grandeur and loveliness; but where 
the hand of man should give its aid in maintaining the 
improvements of art, all is gone to decay. 

In Cwm Ystwith, a valley separated from Hafod by a 
mountain-ridge^ are some valuable lead-mines, belonging 
to the earl of Lisbume j but the impracticable appearance 
of the entrance to their subterranean labyrinths, com- 
pelled me to disappoint the curiosity I generally gratify 
by a " voyage to the interior." The heaps of dark grey 
ore lying all around; the damp, dirty, attire of the miners; 
and the herbless desolation of the scene, may well be 
described as forming a startling contrast to the rich, 
verdant, and beautiful grounds so near. 

The inducements for inland excursions from Aberyst- 
with are not very numerous; but among the places 
renowned in olden times, to which I had long resolved 
on bending my steps, while sojourning in the vicinity, 
was the Abbey of Strata Florida, little of which now 

Passing out of Aberystwith to the south, I traversed 
a richly-wooded district, interspersed with smiling corn- 
fields, and whitewashed cottages peeping contentedly 
from the bosky dells or broomy braes around. The 
hedges were decked with clusters of spring flowers, 
greeting me kindly with their sweet odour; and fox- 
gloves, mallows, and the delicate dancing harebeUs, 

24 CR088WOOD. 

enamelling the banks beneath the canopy of green 
leaves^ made the road seem a pleasant garden-walk. 

"All thiDgB rejoiced beneftth the rnn ; tbe weeds, 
The meadows, and the oornfielda, and the reeds, 
The willow leaves that glanced in the light breese. 
And the finn foliage of the lai^r trees." 

A few miles from Aberystwith, I gained a fine view 
of Nanteos Park, in a little valley inclosed by rising 
hills, with a seaward prospect of considerable extent. 
Continuing my way through woods, and pretty English- 
looking scenery for a while, I descended to the vale of 
the Ystwith, a scene of great beauty. The river wind- 
ing in Wye-like curves and horseshoe bends, occupies 
the middle of the flat, and on either side, the banks, 
gradually rising, are embroidered, as it were, with 
fields, woods, gardens, and cottages with their light 
blue peat-smoke rising gracefully "above the green 
elms;" while mountains, piled one on another, complete 
the picture. Beyond, where the valley narrows, is 
Crosswood, the seat of the earl of Lisbume, surrounded 
with plantations, some of which skirt the Ystwith, and 
overhang its rocky and deep bed, which is here clasped 
by an elegant wooden bridge, rustic-looking, yet per- 
fectly commodious, — qualities not often united. Wend- 
ing still onwards, I crossed the Ystwith, at the bridge of 
Llanavan, a village (if such it can be called), consisting 
of a few wretched cabins ; and then up a high hill I 
pursued my weary way. Soon after gaining compara- 
tively level ground, in passing through a stream which 
traversed the road to a mill, I heard the sounds of fall- 
ing water apparently at a short distance. Quitting the 
road, and descending a rugged pathway on the right of 


it^ I soon came in view of a great slanting slate rock, 
down which the mill-stream falls in one grand un- 
broken cascade, into a dark deep pool, whence it gur- 
gles quietly along, under a turfy bank, to a second mill 
at a short distance, built below the level of the water, 
which, after turning the wheel, is flung ofP in a beau- 
tiful cascade, and falling into a wooded ravine, goes 
plunging down the rocks to join the main stream in the 
glen j for this busy working streamlet is but a branch 
of the larger body of water, which is guiltless of appli- 
cation to useful purposes. From the turf-bank abready 
mentioned, I could see indistinctly, that a vast glen lay 
far below, and could hear the sound of many waters, 
echoed by the precipitous rocks aroimd. Having sum- 
moned one of the barefooted urchins from a neigh- 
bouring cabin to guide me, I accompanied him through 
the pathless underwood and tangled herbage which 
skirted the sides of the ravine, and at length found 
myself in the bed of the river, standing on slippery 
fragments of rock, round which the waters foamed 
and boiled in loud roaring rapids. Before, beside, all 
around me, as it seemed, mountain-torrents rushed 
down the immense wall of rock, which here closes 
the glen in a kind of narrow amphitheatre, and is richly 
adorned, though not wholly clothed with wood. Five 
distinct streams were in view at once, all leaping from a 
di2zy height above me, and rolling down in infinite 
variety of forms ; some falling by places over the bare 
shelves of rock, spread out in a broad clear sheet of 
water; others, half-hidden by the verdant dewy foliage 
of the trees, sprang but partially into sight, scattering 
afar their feathery foam, like streams of light amid the 


gloom of this darksome glen. The roar of the ialling 
water, in its rocky and confined basin, reyerberated by 
the high cliffs that wall it on three sides, is deafening; 
and after remaining in this damp and perilous position, 
nntil both eyes and ears besought a respite in quieter 
scenes, I climbed once more into upper air, and found 
a large assembly of ''Natives'' collected to see the 
strange being who had so unceremoniously introduced 
himself to a scene unsought, and nearly unknown, 
in the neighbourhood it adorns. The miller popped 
his white face out at his mill-door, with as suspicious a 
glance as if he feared my design was to elope with the 
objects of my admiration instanter, and even the auld 
wives suspended the swift evolutions of their knitting- 
pins, in wonder at my invasion ; so little sought is this 
beautiful spot, though only the same distance from 
Aberystwith as the Devil's Bridge, 'to which people 
flock by scores. Not that I mean to imply any com- 
parUon of the two scenes — they are essentially differ- 
ent in character; but surely, when one is so universally 
visited, some lovers of the grand and the beautiful in 
nature might add the other to their list of Cardigan- 
shire pilgrimages. When at the place, I could not dis- 
tinctly understand the name given it by the bare- 
legged guide, but have since learned that the dell is 
called PwU Caradoc, t. a. Caradoc's or Caractacus's 
Pool, a Welsh prince of that name having fallen over 
the precipice, and been killed. Tradition has two ver- 
sions of the story ; one says that the prince was hunt- 
ing, and leaped into the terrific chasm accidentally, 
while in pursuit of the quarry ; the other says that he 
''rushed over:'' but, as I am unwilling to suspect the 


prince of anythiDg like/efo de se, I gave credence to the 
fonner supposition. 

This fall is not only unsought by visitors^ but it is 
not even named by any guide-book or tour which I 
have yet seen ; and I have consulted many for the pur- 
pose of finding if its history or existence was known to 
the authors. 

The water of this^ and most other mountain-streams 
in the vicinity^ is of a dark-brown colour^ though as 
clear as crystal. Even the foam of a large body of it is 
yellow, instead of white. This singular appearance is 
caused by the turbaries through which the streams 
flow, and in which many of them rise. The Bheidol, 
Ystwith, Mynach, Teivy, all I have observed here, 
wearlhe russet-colour. 

Proceeding onwards over many streams whose course 
crossed the road, having no other bridge than a tree 
and a rail for passengers, I passed the village of Pout 
Ehyvendigaid,-4n^KcJ, the Blessed or Holy ford, so called 
by the good monks of the olden time ; a substantial 
bridge is now the commodious substitute for the ancient 
ford, and over it is passed the Teivy, in which river, as 
Fluellyn would say, '^ there be good salmons.^' Ystrad 
Fflur is an extensive valley of excellent meadow land, 
very retiredly situated, and chiefly remarkable now for 
the ruins of its once grand and richly-eudowed monas- 
tery, called by the Welsh, Mynachlog Ystrad Fflur, — ^the 
abbey of the blooming or fertile plain, now strangely 
Latinized into Strata Florida. According to Dugdale, 
the edifice of which we now see the remains, was built 
by the abbot, in the year 1294; but the structure 
raised by Rhys ap Gruffydd stood about two miles 


distant to the south-west, upon a plain near the river 
Fflur, where an old building, now used aa a bam, is 
called IlSn Monachlog, — ^the old abbey. 

Camden says the abbey was a Cistercian hoose, 
founded by Rhys ap Gruffydd, and Meredith, his 
brother. Leland, Farmer, and Dugdale, mention it as 
an establishment of Cluniacs, founded by Rhys ap 
Tewdwr, in the time of William the Conqueror. 
'' Who shall decide when doctors disagree V Certain 
it is that the abbey was immensely rich, being valued 
at the Dissolution at upwards of one thousand two 
hundred pounds ; and was the chief repository of what- 
ever was learned or civilized in former turbulent times. 
Its hospitals and cells were established in every direc- 
tion, and it divided with the Abbey of Conway the 
honourable charge of depositing and carrying on the 
records of the Principality. 

To the monks of Strata Florida we are chiefly 
indebted for the accurate " History of Wales,*' from 
the year 1157, till the final defeat and death of the last 
Llewelyn, during which period these reverend fathers 
were the bearers of their prince's remonstrance, and 
interceded with the archbishops of York and Canter- 
bury for their good offices in relieving him from the 
insults and oppressions of the Marchers. 

The earliest and most authentic account we have of 
the kings of Britain, in the form of a regular history, 
is a MS. in the British, or Armorican language, called 
" Brut y Brenhinoedd,'' brought here from Bretagne in 
France, by Gualter, archdeacon of Oxford, about the 
year 1100. Geoffrey of Monmouth's History is a 
free translation of this, though some moderns have 


doubted the authenticity^ and even the existencej of 
the original^ accusing Geoffrey of attempting to impose 
his own fables on the world as a genuine portion of 
British history. But however fabulous his book may 
appear to those unacquainted with the nature of the 
times on which it treats^ there certainly is an ancient 
copy still extant, called " Brut y BreiJiinoedd/' pre- 
served in the library of Mr. Davies^ of Llanerch^ Den- 
bighshire.''^ This MS. includes the history of Wales 
to the year 700; from this period Caradoc of Llan- 
carven took it up^ and faithfully continued it from the 
most authentic documents to the year 1157. Several 
copies of Caradoc were deposited in different archives^ 
and^ amongst others^ in those of Ystrad Fflur. The 
monks of this house carefully recorded every memorable 
event subsequent to that period^ till the fatal defeat of 
the last prince of British blood who was able to assert 
the independence of his country^ A.D. 1282. 

This abbey seems to have been a grand mausoleum 
for the royal and noble in Wales^ many princes and 
renowned persons having been here interred; but to 
me its cemetery gained most interest from being the 
last resting-place of the celebrated Welsh poet 
Davydd ap Gwilim, many of whose compositions are 
replete with grace^ fancy, and a most keen and satirical 
spirit. So far we have looked only at the past : the 
present appearance of this once mighty edifice serves 
as a humiliating lesson to human pride and power. 
The glory of ancient days has passed away; — the 
princely abbey has mouldered into dustj and been 

* Erans. 


destroyed piecemeal for the sake of its materials, with 
which many a squalid cabin in the neighbourhood has 
been created. In a sloTcnly and wilderness-like garden, 
adjoining the present churchyard, stands a circular 
gateway of extreme beauty; in three dififerent ''Guides'' 
it is termed severally, Gothic, Saxon, and Norman.* 
The earring consists of six simple flutings, one within 
another, cut in such fine relief, that at a short distance 
it has the appearance of an arcade ; over the centre of 
the arch is a carved stone, apparently representing a 
double crosier-head. In the wall adjoining this gate- 
way, a pointed window still remains, nearly overgrown 
with ivy and a variety of small shrubs, which have 
taken root in the crumbling stone. A fine elder-bush, 
gay and firagrant with its large clust<ers of delicate 
flowers, occupies the inner space of the beautiful arch- 
way, silently telling of the transitory nature of all 
man's laborious work, compared with the everlasting, 
ever-renewed vigour and freshness of nature* Some 
remarkably large box-trees grow opposite the arch, 
and very close to it, rendering probable my surmise, 
that this was the garden-front of the abbey, where 
these ancient trees perhaps decorated the '' pleasance" 
of the reverend brotherhood. At some fifty or sixty 
paces distant from this spot stands a fragment of 
masonry, like the corner part of some large building, 
about forty feet high, composed of the common slate 
rock of the country, strongly, though somewhat rudely, 
put together. And these scattered remains are all that 
time has left to tell us of this once magnificent abbey I 

* MaUdSi Nioholion, EvaDf. 


As I gazed on its ruined fragments^ Fancy, with her 
airy spells^ began to array the fallen edifice in its former 
might and glory : — 

** I could not dream I — 
And yei a yudonaiy band aroee, 
'Mid solemn miuic's thrilling swell and closer 

A silent, shadowy train; the taper's gleam 

HtfuUj o'er monastic forms was shed. 
O'er mitred abbot, and the lengthened line 
Of dark-cowled monks that bent aronnd the shrine 

Still, calm, and yoiceless as the slumb'ring dead. 

They passed away — that strange and solemn train : 
The pealing music murmured through the trees. 
Breathing its faint fitrewell upon the breese, 

And to its distant home returned again. 

They passed away — ^the sunbeams brightly shone, 
And o'er me smiled the cloudless, azure sky, 
Where late the fretted roof's proud canopy 

Bose o'er the torch-lit crowd. I was alone ; — 
Where late the golden censers high had flung 

Their fragrant clouds around the imaged throne. 
The wall-flower shed its perfume, as it clung 

And waved in wild luxuriance o'er the stone, 
Chafed by the storms of yean ; an emblematic bloom. 
An halo-coronal of light o'er grandeur's tomb. 

Around me all was calm and still ; the wind. 
Even that 'chartered brawler,' seemed to feel 
A strange, unwonted awe, and strove to steal 

With gentler voice amid the hills that shrined 

A scene so tranquil" 

So important a place was this in olden times^ that 
Llewelyn ap Jorwerth, in 1237^ invited the lords and 
barons of Wales to Ystrad Fflur^ and required from 
them the oaths of fidelity and allegiance to his son 
David. Those who now visit the spot| in its dismantled 
and ruinous desolation^ will scarcely believe that the 
whole country round could furnish accommodation for 


such a company, or that this could be the theatre of 
ceremonies such as are solemnized with us under the 
awful roof of Westminster. The situation of this 
abbey, in the darkest recess of a mountainous semi- 
circle, amidst numerous coppices of wood, with the 
land cultivated up the steep acclivities, well illustrates 
the proverbial good taste of the monks, who generally 
prevailed with their founder to place them in the 
pleasantest and most fertile land of a district, under 
the protection of mountains 'not far distant, and, above 
all things, on the banks of a fresh and rapid stream, 
abounding in faat-day delicacies. 

The present church, a small neat building, erected 
out of the ruins of its grand predecessor, stands in a 
burjring-ground which is still spacious, though occupy- 
ing but a small portion of the original cemetery. In 
Leland's time it was shaded by thirty-nine venerable 
yews ; but the dying remains of only a few of these 
patriarch-trees add a melancholy beauty to the scene. 
Under one of them, tradition says that Davydd ap 
Gwilim lies interred. When the Druidical or Bardic 
hierarchy began to decline in Britain, it was succeeded 
by the Hermitical and Monastical institutions, which 
also became the nurseries of learning, and the grand 
repositories of music, poetry, British bards, and records, 
until the reign of Henry VIII., who abolished the 
monasteries. All the abbeys appear to have retained 
bards and minstrels of their own ; Davydd ap Gwilim 
is said to have been the bard of Ystrad Fflur, and 
Gutt}m Owen the historian and herald-bard to that 
abbey. Sooth to say, Davydd seems, by the style and 
character of his numerous poems, to have been a most 


unfit person to hold office in any ?u)ly establishment, 
unless the monks somewhat resembled in moral dis-* 
cipline the jolly " Friar of orders Gray'* of the old 
song J for the greater part of his effusions are celebra- 
tions of his mistress's beauty, the fair Morvudd, who 
being wedded against her will to a humpbacked old 
churl, Davydd found means to carry her off twice from 
her husband, and thereby incurred much disgrace. 
He also, in a witty dialogue poem, supposed to be 
spoken by himself and a friar, severely ridicules much 
that appertained to the sacred calling; which offences, 
added to the levity, if not licentiousness, of his life, 
make the circumstance of his being an abbey-bard 
paradoxical, if not doubtful.* The poetry of Davydd 

* This poem, I fear, illustratea too truly the bard's creatnrelj 
propeDsities. It begins with a confession, as was meet, to the holy 
man, though it ends with some irreverent and bitter repartees. 

■ "Dread sir, to idle rhyme 
And amorous sighs I give my time; 
In a dark brow and beauteous face 
My earthly paradise I place." 

Davydd was in high estimation amongst his countrymen, and, in 
1360, he was elected to the bardic chair of Glamorgan. The style 
and subjects of his writings obtained for him the name of the Welsh 
Ovid. Like the Boman bard, he was not a little careful of the adorn- 
ments of his person ; for he was deemed, as the chroniclers say, " the 
man of fashion of the times," though of his piebald wardrobe no 
particulars have been preserved. Davydd*s fine person made him a 
great &vourite with the fiiir sex, and he had many love afiOiirs on his 
hands at the same time. In one of his wayward humours he made an 
appointment with each of his mistresses to meet him, at the same 
hour, under the well-known trystiog-tree, where he had often vowed 
eternal fidelity to them all separately. In order to eojoy the result of 
this whimsical congress, he hid himself amongst the branches, where 
he oould hear and see everything. The love-sick damsels came one by 



ap Gwilim is considered the purest standard of the 
M>Ish language; and from his poems the modem 
literary dialect has been chiefly formed. 

Returning to Pont Rhyvendigaid, I halted at the 
small hostelry^ where a rampant red lion swings and 
creeks its invitation to man and beast. Ushered into 
the inn's " best parlour/' I amused myself by observing 
the multifarious decorations of this state apartment. 
Around the walls hung various Scripture subjects, 
most woefully caricatured by the artist. The mantel- 
piece was decorated with wax and crockery-ware effigies 
of the same class, and the grate's costume was truly 
original. Carefully pinned to a curtain hung a very 
knowing lace cap, with borders of that extraordinary 
width and abundance seen only among the Welsh 
belles, and most beautifully ''got up," as the ladies 
say. On a corner table, too, lay a hat, which, by its 
gloss, newness, and clever shape, evidently intended to 
invite the cap to church the following Sunday ; and the 
entrance of a tight, blooming, dark-eyed, and sprightly- 
looking Welsh girl with my intended repast, soon 
enabled my calculating curiosity to supply a face 
worthy of the becoming national costume. I like the 
dress of the bonny Wekh lassies, and trust they will 

one, and great was the amazement at their meeting, when each looked 
upon the other as an intruder upon her privacy. At length the trick 
was diacoTered, and an ebullition of rage followed, in which they all 
agreed upon the death of their laithleBs lover on the first opportunity. 
The bard, who was witness to the whole, contrived, by some extem- 
poraneous verses, which he pronounced from his hiding-place, to raise 
a spirit of jealousy amongst bis fair admirers ; their rage was now 
turned upon each other, and, in the confusion that followed, he 
contrived toxoake a safe retreat. 


be long in yielding to the insipid innovations of modem 
millkery. They would resign their piquant black hats 
with no little reluctance^ did they know how flat and 
unbecoming the flippant silk bonnets^ displayed by 
some of them^ look in comparison. The hat is not 
worn by the peasantry alone^ for I have seen not a 
few spruce beavers accompanied by rich silk dresses^ 
fashionable kerchiefs, and silk stockings. While 
sojourning at Aberystwith, I greatly enjoyed seeing 
the farmers' comely wives and pretty daughters riding 
to market with their sacks of corn over the saddle, for 
here the women sell small quantities of grain at 
market, and with the produce purchase the various 
articles required for domestic use, which are stowed in 
the corn-sack on their return ; and often have my eyes 
detected the form of a new teapot, or the circumference 
of a frying-pan, in these bags-of-all-work. 

In returning from Pont Rhyvendigaid, I repassed 
the village of Ystrad Meirig, celebrated for its excellent 
grammar-school, which attained to such celebrity as 
to be called the Welsh College. The founder of this 
establishment was Edward Richards, a native of this 
parish. His father was a tailor, and kept the village 
public house. In his youth he was indolent and way- 
ward, till the sudden death of his brother, from a fall 
over a precipice in Maen Arthur Woods, roused his 
mind to serious reflection, and determined him upon 
that severe course of study which raised his fame to 
the highest point of scholarship. He continued the 
school which had been commenced by his predecessor, 
and which was carried on in the church, as may be 
frequently observed in the Principality; and having 

n 2 


brought it into great eminence, he confirmed its exist- 
ence after his decease by the endowment of his pro- 
perty. Mr. Richards was a poet of the first order, and 
his pastorals, written after the models of Theocritus 
and Virgil, are said to be " the most polished composi- 
tions in the Welsh tongue." Many most eminent 
men, both of past and present times, have received the 
greater portion of their education at this school; 
amongst whom was that great scholar and bard, Evan 
Evans, although, from its appearance now, I fear ita 
fame is on the decline. 

The situation of Ystrad Meirig, though not possessed 
of that pre-eminent grandeur and beauty which distin- 
guish so many spots in Cardiganshire, is one of much 
interest, and the immediate neighbourhood is partially 
wooded, and abounds with fine craggy mountains and ro- 
mantic cwms. The castle of Ystrad Meirig was formerly 
an important out-post to Aberystwith, built, like that 
larger fortress, by the Norman adventurer Gilbert de 
Strongbow, and afforded timely succour to the usurping 
party, in the day of danger, when Prince Gruffydd ap 
Ehys was on the point of retrieving the rights of the 
natives. Florence of Worcester mentions Gruffydd 
ap Rhys to have died by the deceitful practice of his 
wife. In 1187, on the accession of Owain Gwyneth to 
the supremacy of Wales, his first exploit was to over- 
throw the enemy's stronghold at Ystrad Meirig. In 
1150, the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys, having lost many 
of their brave men at the successful siege of Llan- 
rhysted, marched to this place, where they re-fortified 
and manned the castle. It was of considerable import- 
ance in all the subsequent wars, tiU in the year 1208 


it was destroyed by its owner^ that it might not fall 
into the hands of Llewelyn ap Jorwerth. After this 
period it does not appear to be mentioned in history. 

The southern part of Cardiganshire is chiefly com- 
posed of wide-spreading mountains^ vast^ grand, and 
dreary, with a very scanty population. The banks of 
the rivers, as in every instance, afford the finest scenery, 
and the most fertile land ; the Teivy will well reward 
the wanderer for the time and toil of a lengthened 
pilgrimage. " This water,'* says old Giraldus, " farre 
passeth al the ryvers of Wales in plentie of salmons, 
and al the ryvers in Ingland and Wales for stoare of 
beavers, or otters. The salmon hath his name, a 
saltu, of leaping, for his propertie is to swimme against 
the streame; and, when he findeth any stoppe, he 
taketh his taile in his mouth, and so casting his bodie 
into a circle, loseth himself sodainly again, and as a 
twigge that is bowed both endes together, and sodainly 
resolved springeth withal an heighte, and getteth over 
it.'* The beaver was formerly abundant in the Teivy, 
though centuries have now passed since its extermina- 
tion. The former existence of this animal in this 
neighbourhood is amply proved by the laws of Howel 
Ddu, the authenticity of which is unquestioned; the 
price of a beaver's skin is there set down, and in differ- 
ent parts of Wales are ponds and lakes which have 
borne the name of beavers' pools from time immemorial ; 
such as Llyn-yr-Afanc, or Lake of Beavers, in the 
vicinity of Llanidloes. It is evident that beavers 
existed here in the time of Giraldus, whose account 
of their manner of constructing their cabins is too 
accurate to have been compiled from hearsay or tra- 


dition; and ''he is no contemptible authority, though a 
politic conformity to the tastes of his readers might, 
perhaps, induce him, in some instances, rather to con- 
sider what they would admire, than his own accuracy. 
Had the assertion related to anything miraculous, or 
anything involving the interests of the Church or the 
Crusade J we might reasonably suspect him of an undue 
inclination; but, in the present case, he had some 
reputation to support as a topographer, and no interest 
to warp him as a churchman/' Old Burton, in his 
notice of this county, gives the following account of 
this curious animal : — " In the river Teivy beavers were 
formerly found; a creature living both by land and 
water, having the two fore feet like a dog, wherewith 
he runs on land, and the two hinder like a goose, with 
which he swims; his broad tail served for a rudder: 
but now none are found." 

The goats in the present day seem to have met the 
fate of the wolves and beavers of past eras, it being a 
most rare event to see one of these animals in a wild 
state, even among the mountain retreats of Cambria ; 
a fate I very much regret, both for their beauty, 
nationality, and usefulness to the peasantry. But the 
poor goats oflfend the owners of newly springing planta- 
tions, by their penchant for nice young sprouts and 
leaves of trees, as a little variety in their diet of whin 
and heather; and their native haunts are now occupied 
by the far less picturesque but more harmless sheep, which 
80 far emulate the athletic accomplishments of their 
predecessors, that they leap from crag to crag, with their 
dirty, torn, neglected fleeces dangling in strange and 
ludicrous disorder about them, with as much agility as 


their bearded relatives. I have frequently seen the 
mountain sheep trailing after them their ragged coats 
in a train of a yard or two in lengthy and heartily 
abused the careless indolence of their owners^ while I 
pitied the miserable plight of the poor bramble-shorn 

On a mountain two miles north-east of Strata Flo- 
rida, are five lakes, of which Llyn Teivy is the prin- 
cipal. It is said to be unfathomable, and is encom- 
passed by a high and perpendicular ridge, which at 
once feeds and confiues its everlasting waters. It has 
been by some travellers supposed to be a crater, but 
the stones around bear no marks of volcanic action. 
Leland, in his quaint way, says — " Of al the pools, none 
stondeth in so rokky and stony soile as Tyve doth, that 
hath withyn hym many stonis. The ground al about 
Tyve, and a great mile towards Stratfler, is horrible, 
with the sight of bare stonis, as cregeryri mountaines 
be. Llin Tyve is fed fro hyer places with a little 
broket, and issueth out again by a smauUe gut. Ther 
is in it veri good troutes and elys, and no other fisch.'^* 

This group of lakes forms one of the chief natural 
curiosities of this dreary district. On leaving Llyn 
Teivy, a few minutes' walk attains the summit of the 
mountain, and a view of four more lakes, each within a 
few yards of the other. The largest cannot be much 
less in circumference than Llyn Teivy, and is of a 
diflferent form, being narrow in the middle. The 
smallest is circular, occupying the highest ground, and 
in appearance much like a crater; its circumference is 

* The Teivy is tbe small stream which issues from the lake, aftei^ 
wards* swelling to an important river. 


about three quarters of a mile. These lakes are all said 
to be fathomless^ and their extraordinary effect is 
much heightened by the strong degree of agitation to 
which they are subjected by their exposure; — ^the scene, 
though totally desolate, is very grand. 

This is the highest ground in Cardiganshire, and the 
prospect most extensive ; but the cluster of moimtains, 
on the most elevated of which are the lakes, reaches so 
far, as entirely to obscure the vales between the near 
and distant hills : all is wild and rugged, with Plinlim- 
mon and Cader Idris rearing their lofty heads in the 
north. The prospect on the south-west extends to the 
high grounds about Cardigan, which appear distinctly; 
and beyond those to the sea, which is less clearly de- 

Between Pont Bhy vendigaid and Castle Inon, is Llyn 
Vathey CringlAs, about a mile in circumference, of a 
beautiful oblong form. This lake is said to occupy the 
site of the ancient city of Tregaron,^ which is popularly 
believed to have been " swallowed up" in some convul- 
sion of nature. That such catastrophes have occurred, 
we have ample proofs ; but according to Welsh tradi- 
tion, almost every pool has a ruined city beneath its 
waters. Llyn Savaddan, or Brecknock Mere, in the 
county of Brecon, is by some antiquaries imagined to 
cover the ancient city of Loventium ; and the circum- 
stance of the old high-roads all tending to that spot 

* The present Tillage of Tregaron 10 about three miles distant from 
the lake, and contains bat little that is interesting, except its old 
church, and some ancient inscriptions in the cLui chyard, especially one 
to Mailyr, the son of Rhywallan ab Gwyn, who fell in the battle of 
Caruo, in 1010. 


seems to render probable the supposition : but^ grant- 
ing this to be the case, it appears more than likely that 
the tradition of an ingulfed city has become asso- 
ciated with other places in which no ground for the 
belief ever existed, in the same manner that we find 
some of our old English legends related, in precisely 
the same terms, in celebration of places wide apart. 

The chain of hills in this neighbourhood runs without 
a single break from Llanbeder to Bishop's Castle, in 
Shropshire, a space of about sixty miles. It might be 
traversed on horseback almost without the interruption 
of a single gate or fence, and probably without seeing 
a human being. 

On the high lands in this neighbourhood are nume- 
rous tumuli and cist-vaens. In the parish of Cellan is 
a large circular moated tumulus, on the summit of 
which is animmeuse stone, or rather rock, eleven yards 
in diameter, called LlSch Cynon. On the mountain to 
the north of the river Frwd are two cist-vaens called 
" beddau,'' or graves, and on the mountain on the south 
are two more, one of which is called Bedd y Vorwyn, or 
the Virgin's Grave. Sir S. Meyrick had these opened ; 
their form was oblong, consisting of four stones, and in 
the centre, a little tumulus of earth and stones. After 
clearing this away, there appeared a stratum of gravel, 
then a layer of sand, and under that burnt ashes of 
bones and wood lying on a bed of clay, which had been 
placed upon the rock. The depth of each was about 
three feet, and from two to four feet long. A very 
great number of the carnau or carneddau may be seen 
on the mountains in this parish; but two extremely 
large ones, upon a very high mountain near the road 


leading from Llanvair to Llanycrwys^ are most con- 
spicuous. These, and another called Fair Camau, consist 
of heaps of large stones, in all probability the graves of 
warlike chiefs who fell near the spot. Other great 
stones, placed on adjacent mountains, have most likely 
been erected in commemoration of a victory. Near 
the road leading to Llanycrwys are the remains of a 
Druidical structure : several of the huge stones formerly 
belonging to it lie scattered around. Two ancient 
intrenchments, one circular, the other oval, lie in the 
vicinity, with numerous cameddau. Few districts pre- 
sent more of interest for the research and reflection of 
the antiquary than the now dreary and almost untrod- 
den wilds of South Cardigan ; formerly — ^as the gigantic 
remains of other days fully attest — the scenes of 
priestly power, royal magnificence, and all the ''pomp 
and circumstance^' of dazzling, desolating war. 



Though poor the peaaani's hut, his feasts though imall. 

He finds his little lot the lot of all ; 

Sees DO contiguous palace rear its head, 

To shame the meanness of his humble shed ; 

No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal. 

To make him loathe his vegetable meal. — Goldsmith. 

Iv this were an age of black-art and gramoury^ instead 
of enlightenment and steam^ and the wandering 
traveller likely to be whisked from place to place by the 
powers of enchantment instead of the more straight- 
forward aid of railroads and stage-coaches^ we might 
well imagine the amazement of some economical, 
orderly English farmer, on being suddenly introduced 
to the scenes of wild, uncultivated mountain-land, 
which the rambler in Wales is ever familiar with. But 
not even the change in the general aspect of the 
country would astonish him so much as the squalid 
misery and dirt of the cottages, or rather cabins, of the 
peasantry. They may be placed on an equality with 
the worst specimens of Irish habitations, at least very 
many of them. 

In the districts of Cardiganshire, the dark slate rock 
of the mountains furnishes a good material for the walls 


of these hovels^ and of sucli they are mostly built^ with 
apertures of the smallest possible dimensions for win- 
dows, which may or may not be supplied with a pane or 
two of green glass; but if they are, they are perma- 
nently fastened up, an opening window not being found 
in a cot of this degree ; and the accumulation of dirt 
renders them nearly useless in admitting light. The 
floor, either mud or rough slate pavement, is gene- 
rally the abiding-place of as many pigs, ducks, and 
sheep-dogs as the owners possess, all lying at ease, or 
walking freely in and out ; — pigs and children, be it 
understood, partaking the comfort of the hearth, and 
nestling in affectionate companionship among the heaps 
of unswept ashes that lie around the turf fire, — the 
smoke from which always declines going up the chim- 
ney, when there is one ; for these things, deemed neces- 
sary with us, are here quite matters of taste, some 
cabins being decorated with low wattle appendage to 
the gable, while others have only a hole in that quarter, 
which serves to let in the wind and rain, without letting 
out the smoke, which invariably makes its exit by the 
door; and in passing through a " village'^ of these cot- 
tages, the vapour from opposite doors rises into an 
aerial archway, beneath which the uninitiated traveller 
coughs and grumbles along. The wattled chimneys I 
have mentioned, are sometimes truly ludicrous in their 
position; no doubt they are originally as erect as the 
rest of the building, but their general condition is such 
as to remind one of opera-dancers, striving to preserve 
their equilibrium in most extraordinary deviations from 
the perpendicular. Sometimes, fairly twisted round by 
the wind, they stick in the roof by one peg of the 


basket-work, and look very like a pirouette; at others 
they may be seen lifted from their proper place, and 
seeming in the act of a coupS; and so happily are things 
managed, that opposite or next-door neighbours nod 
and set to each other with all the friendliness imagin- 
able, seeming ready to change sides the first opportu- 
nity. Yet, amid all this filth, and, as we consider, 
misery, the female part of the cottagers are as spruce 
in their national costume on Sundays and holidays, 
and as proud of their assortment of crockery-ware, of 
which an unnecessary number of jugs forms an indis- 
pensable part, as if surrounded with all the more sub- 
stantial comforts of life. To look at the habitations, one 
would marvel how a clean mob-cap, or a decent coat, 
could belong to people so apparently lost to all notion 
of comfort and neatness. Their cheerfulness and con- 
tent under privations that would not be endured by an 
English labourer, while it surprises, almost provokes 
us, as seeming to place a formidable bar in the way of 
future improvement. Flummery, buttermilk, and coarse 
barley bread, form much of their food ; I have often 
seen the labourers of respectable farmers dining out of 
a bowl of flummery (a sour jelly made from oat-husks), 
with such thankful content, as made the remembered 
fare of an English farm kitchen seem absolutely sump- 
tuous by the contrast; and I have sometimes thought 
that a temporary residence among these cheerful, 
hard-feeding mountaineers might be a salutary lesson 
to some of the croaking consumers of beef, bacon, 
pudding, and ale, in England. Far be it for me to 
assert, that abstinence from the last-mentioned in- 
dulgence forms a general part of the South Cambrian 


character; I would that I could say so with truth, but 
the ancestral beverage of cwrw is a thing anciently and 
well beloved. 

Weddings, generally the scenes of much mirth and 
wassailing among the rustic population, are here accom- 
panied by some singular customs, which, though not so 
universally practised as in former years, deserve men- 
tion, as they are far from becoming obsolete. The 
bidding, as it is termed, takes place about a week 
before the day of ceremony, the bans having been pub- 
lished as in England. The bidder, or official inviter 
of the guests, goes from house to house with his wand 
of peeled willow, garlanded with ribbons, and standing 
in the middle of the floor, repeats a long lesson with 
great formality, enumerating the various preparations, 
and requesting the attendance of the family he has 
called upon. The following is an old form of invita- 
tion, read by the bidder in Llanbadam, some years 
since, literally translated: — "The intention of the 
bidder is this : with kindness and amity, with decency 
and liberality, for Einion Owain and Llio Elys, he 
invites you to come with your good-will on the plate ; 
bring current money ; a shilling, or two, or three, or 
four, or five ; with cheese and butter. We invite the 
husband and wife, and children, and men-servants, from 
the greatest to the least. Come there early ; you shall 
have victuals freely, and drink cheap, stools to sit on, 
and fish if we can catch them; but if not, hold us 
excusable, and they will attend on you when you call 
on them, in return.^' 

Saturday is fixed as the day of marriage, and Friday 
is allotted to bring home the furniture of the woman. 


generally an oak chesty a feather bed^ clothes^ and 
crockery. The man provides a bedstead^ table^ dresser^ 
and chairs. The evening is employed in receiving 
presents of money^ cheese^ and butter at the man's 
house^ from his friends^ and at the woman's house 
from her friends; this is called purse and girdle, an 
ancient British custom. All the presents are set down 
on paper, and when demanded they are to be returned. 
On Saturday, the friends of the man come on horse- 
back to his house, to the number of fifty or a hundred, 
eating and drinking at his cost, making their presents, 
and repaying those made at their weddings. Ten or 
twenty of the best mounted then accompany the bride- 
groom to the house of his intended, to demand her of 
her friends, who, with the lady, appear as uncomplying 
as possible, and much Welsh poetry is employed by 
way of argument, in some such fashion as this : — 

"Open windows, open doors, 
A.nd with flowers strew the floors; 
Heap the hearth with blazing wood. 
Load the spit with festal food ; 
The chrochon* on its hook be placed. 
And tap a barrel of the best I 
For this is O wain's wedding day; 
Now bring the fair one forth, I pray." 

At length the father appears admitting and welcoming 
his guests ; they alight, take refreshment, and proceed 
to church. The girl mounts behind her father, mother, 
or friend, upon the swiftest horse they can procure, and 
gallops off with the intended husband, and all the wed- 
ding guests riding after in full chase. ^' Over the hills 

* The laige three-legged iron pot used Sox cooking. 


and far away '' go these bride-huntersj till the girl or 
her steed grows weary^ and she suffers herself to be 
quietly conducted to church and married. All the party 
then return to the married couple's house^ eating at 
free cost^ but finding their own liquor. The sale of the 
wedding presents of cheese and butter oflen produces 
from ten to twenty or thirty pounds^ which^ with the 
money also presented^ is a seasonable help to the young 
housekeepers. Many of my Welsh friends tell me 
they have often joined the wedding troop^ and that the 
chase is a most animated and amusing scene^ the bride 
leading the cavalcade of merry equestrians in any di- 
rection, and the whole party scouring the country like 
mad folks. 

We are apt to marvel at accounts of odd ceremonies 
and customs in other lands, without knowing half the 
peculiar habits and ancient rites still practised within 
the boundaries of our own country ; many of which, 
especially among the Welsh, may be traced to the 
highest antiquity. 

The familiar superstitions of Wales are becoming 
gradually fainter and fainter ; but it is notorious that in 
this county they were more rife than in almost any other 
in Wales, and that not only amongst the uneducated 
portion of its inhabitants, but including those who, from 
their rank in society, might have been considered supe* 
rior to the delusions of their age. John Lewis, Esq., 
a magistrate, residing near Aberystwith, writing, in 
the year 1656, to a clergyman, relates several stories of 
apparitions, and the Canwyll Corph, or corpse candles, 
with a minuteness and simplicity which show his entire 
belief in his narratives. The Rev. John Davis, a 


minister, in Cardiganshire, has written down the order 
which seems to regulate this superstition : — '' We call 
them/' saith he, " corpse candles, not that we see any- 
thing besides the light, but yet it resembles a material 
candlelight, as much as eggs do eggs, only they some- 
times appear and instantly disappear : for, if one comes 
near them, or on the way against them, unto him they 
vanish ; but presently appear behind him, and hold on 
their course. If it be a little candle, pale and bluish, 
then follows the corpse of an abortive, or some infant. 
If a big one, then the corpse of some one come to age. 
If two, three, or more, great and little, be seen toge- 
ther, then so many and such corpse will follow together. 
If two candles come from divers places, and be seen 
to meet, the corpse will do the like. If any of these 
candles seem to turn out of the way or path that leads 
to the church, the following corpse will be found to 
turn in some place, for the avoiding some dirty lane, 
plash, &c.*' 

The author of the Mountain Decameron gives some 
graphic descriptions of several other popular super- 
stitions, which I shall transcribe. '' The superstitions 
of Wales form no part of the popular ^oe/ry of our age; 
yet there exist many grandly imaginative. How few 
know anything about our Cwn Annwn,* that is, ' Dogs 
of the sky,* but which their office, as assigned, would 
warrant us to call the Bloodhounds of Souls I by earthly 
analogy. Sudden fires trail along the heavens at the 
moment of a dying person's body and soul taking leave, 
and that light is no other than that fire which each of 

* Annum— the bottmim ahys8; EeU, in the ancient sense, as the 
^ Doom " of all apirite. 




that terrible pack always has following after like a 
chain ; and sounds, like the jellings of an earthly hunt, 
may be heard in the dumbness of midnight, and which 
hunting is no less than the chase of the parting soul 
by these fiends of the sky, as it flics towards heaven's 
gate before them, — the flight for nothing less than 
eternal life or death! What superstition afiecting 
mortal life and its brevity, and its briefer pains, can 
compare in terror, in wildness, or sublimity with this ? 
With these bowlings and huntings for immortal souls, 
these wildfires trailed by demon bloodhounds, across all 
the deep*blue chase of the midnight heavens, and the 
issue of this dread hunting never revealed to the 
mourner, upgazing firom the gate of the house of 
mourning ? 

" More terrible and forcible in mournful conception 
is the strange being that crosses the twilight path of 
the Welsh mountaineer, and which warns him by its 
mere presence, of a death in his house near at hand. 
The Cyoewraeth is the likeness of a woman, frightfully 
cadaverous of visage, bringing all the festering horror 
of a three weeks* burial, in its grim yet not utterly 
disfeatured loathsomeness, abroad into the world of 
life, divulging the foulest secrets of the grave ! This 
farm stands direct in some lonesome path of the startled 
person, tossing her long grisly arms in the air, and 
wringing her earthy lengths of wasted hand, and, 
shaking down her already worm-beset hair over her 
eye-holes, and their sunken dead-lights fixed upon his, 
steady as the basilisk's on its prey, but gloomy, — sets 
up such a cry of wild weeping, and utters two words 


only, so terrible in their power^ that they for the mo- 
ment ai*rest the moving blood in the veins of the hearer 
— ^the Welsh words signifjring 'Oh, my wife !' or, 'Oh, 
my hnsband I ' according to the sex of the short-lived 
object of its fatal forewarning. 

"There exists in Wales, also, some vague, super- 
stitious idea of that tremendous kind which gives effect 
to the (Edipus, and to Greek tragedy in general, — 
the belief in the occasional operation of an overruling 
destiny, impelling its victims to forbidden deeds, and 
hence preparing for the really innocent, but apparently 
guilty, outcasts of human sympathy, penal dooms, and 
hideous pitfalls of perdition, imforeseen and inevitable ! 
The recurrence of crimes and fates in certain doomed 
families, may be remarked in English as well as Welsh 
annals, but I don^t know that any instance, equally 
striking with what in this country has fallen under my 
own notice, has been recorded, though such may^ 
doubtless, have reaUy occurred. 

" What I allude to is, the existence of one family, in 
which, for several generations, the behests of law have 
been working tragedies and dedmating its members. 
The broad features of the fatal fortunes of these 
persons, as I learned from a clergyman of their dis- 
trict, are these: — ^They exhibit in early life the very 
best dispositions. Their first adult years in rustic 
servitude, or under the paternal roof, fulfil that early 
promise. Their first attachment is followed by a first 
step in crime — they swerve from the happy and flowered 
path of their infantine innocence, their youthful 
industry — ^but it is marriage that seals their dismal 

£ 2 



doom. It matters not how prudent, how well-omened 
that union may appear — ^thc neit, and no distant, step 
is — in blood! 

*' An old Brecknockshire magistrate in Builth, now 
deceased, told me, that he had himself, in the course of 
his life, known three capital convictions of persons 
belonging to this stock, had seen two of these (with an 
interval) hanging in chains. One odd fact which he 
added was perhaps more strange than all. A woman — 
either widow or mother, he forgot which — sate knitting 
stockings in the sun, at the foot of the gibbet, which 
detained from its parent earth the ghastly carcase of so 
near a friend. It stood on a comer of a hilly heath, 
not far from her home. 

'' Charity might perhaps ascribe this seeming apathy 
to its contrary, excess of feeling, a morbid melancholy, 
with as much probability of truth, as to callousness in 
the woman. If we should go further, and connect the 
act with the seeming dark predestination which had 
consigned the victim to that sad barred and wind-beat 
grave in the air, demanding the passing traveller's curse 
instead of prayer ; — if we should, I say, see in that lone 
woman's selecting the many-nailed gibbet-tree, with its 
putrefied burthen or skeleton, for her summer seat, 
instead of the green tree, with its pure fresh head of 
beauty and shade — only a passive resignation to the 
congenital curse — ^to the fate inflicted by it on her 
seared heart — the image becomes not anlj affecting, 
but almost sublime I 

" So late as the earlier part of the last century, that 
strange character of a stranger superstition, known by 
the name of 'The Sin-Eater,' was not unknown in 


Wales. This was some desperate being, who (unless 
we suppose him an unbeliever), being past redemption, 
lost to all hope of salvation, did, for a slight reward, or 
to gratify the relatives of one lying dead, take on his 
own soul all the sins of the deceased by a formal act, 
sometimes receiving confession during life, and bar- 
gaining for the burthens thus to be imposed on his 
already laden soul. 

** Mr. Fosbroke, in an account of the town of Boss, 
quotes a letter which speaks of a 'Sin-Eater,' who 
'lived by Boss highway,' and is described as a ' gaunt, 
ghastly, lean, miserable, poor rascal.' 

''A gentleman, who lived a little before the time of 
this dark superstition becoming obsolete, gives us this 
brief account of what is believed to have been the last 
'Sin-Eater of Wales/ 

"'I got lost,' says he, 'near nightfall, after being 
landed by the ferry-boat from the Aber of Dovey, on 
the Cardiganshire side of that estuary. A black tur- 
bary of great extent divided me from the road. I was 
cautioned to ride far round this pitchy bog, for no 
horse ever ventured among the peat-pits — the whole 
being a quaking morass. In truth, its look was enough, 
under a black evening, to keep me off, even without 
peril of being swallowed, man and horse. 

"'At last, thanks to my stars, the good hard rock of 
a rough road rung to my horse's hoof, and I saw a 
cottage taper, as ghastly as the Canwyll Corph, at 
a distance. The house was on a high point and turn 
of road, overlooking all those many acres of hollow 
ground. Just as I came up, hoping lodging, I heard 
sounds of wailing within, and soon a woman came out 


into the dead niglit, late as it was, and cried a name to 
the top pitch of her wild Toice, that seemed one I had 
heard weeping indoors. When I looked in, there lay 
a corpse of a man, with a plate of salt holding a hit of 
hread, placed on its breast. The woman was shouting 
to the Sin-Eater to come and do his office; that is, to 
eat the bread, lay his hand on the dead breast, place 
the dead man's on his own, after making a sign of the 
cross, and then praying for a transfer of all pains or 
penances from that paidoned dead man for ever, to 
him that more than dead alive, himself in his death of 
soul, but not of its pains, for ever and for ever.' 

'' This is the traveller's account of this incident. He 
had the curiosity to wait, and saw at last the motion 
of what seemed a foggy meteor moving toward their 
standing-point. After waiting long, he caught a far- 
out shout in reply to the woman's long unanswered, 
till she kindled on the high road's point the straw of 
her husband's late bed — ^the usual signal of a death in 
the house. 

" ' The Sin-Eater,' he was told, ' lived alone in a hovel 
made of sea- wreck, and nails of such, between sea- 
marsh and that dim bog, where few could approach by 
day, none dare by night; whether for the footing, or 
the great fear, or at least awe, which all felt of that 
recluse.' " 

The most pleasant part of the superstitions of Wales 
is that which is connected with the " Little People," or 
Fairies, playing, as they were wont to do, all sorts of 
merry pranks amongst the inhabitants; dancing by 
moonlight in blue petticoats, and paying the dairy- 
maids with silver pennies for the privilege of skimming 


their milk-bowls. Dryden laments^ and so do we, 

" In yain the dairy now with mint is dreflsed ; — 
The dairymaid expects no fiiiry guest 
To skim the bowls, and after pay the feast. 
She sighs ; for ah ! she shakes her stores in vain^ 
Ko silver penqy to reward her pain." 

I was much surprised at finding the national instru- 
ment^ the harp^ so little cultivated in the diflferent 
spots I visited in Cardiganshire; in fact, one blind 
woman was the only person I heard play upon it; 
Nancy Pelix, of Gogerddan, to whose neat little cottage 
many parties make an afternoon's excursion from 
Aberystwith, and listen to the simple, beautiful old 
Welsh melodies which the sightless harper delights to 
hear praised. Nancy Felix is not young, nor has she 
ever been beautiful; but her calm, uneducated, yet 
almost dignified manners, true kind-heartedness, and 
cheerful resignation to her grievous calamity, rendered 
her to me a most interesting being. By her playing 
to parties, she gains support for herself and two sisters; 
her pretty cottage and neatly-kept garden (so diflferent 
to her neighbours') are the kind gifts of her good 
patron Mr. Bryse, of Gogerddan. The view from her 
little garden is one of most rare beauty, commanding 
the Vale of the Rheidol, and various ranges of cragged 
and woody hills, changing from vivid sunlight to dim 
shadow as the air-hung clouds glide silently across the 
landscape. Who can stand beside that sightless harper^ 
and gaze on the glory of such a scene, without feeling 
how precious is the blessing of which she is deprived,-^ 
without fervently thanking God for the enjoyment of 
this most inestimable boon ? 


56 MINES. 

The copper and lead mines so abundant in Cardigan- 
shire, invariably lie in the most sterile and rugged dis- 
tricts, and the rich veins of ore are embedded in the 
hardest and most compact rock, rendering the working 
of them immensely laborious. The history of these 
mines, and the various restrictions and regulations to 
which their possessors have been subjected by the 
sovereigns of Britain, form a most interesting subject 
of research : I can here make but^ a brief allusion to 
the circumstances. For some centuries after the con- 
quest, the Crown asserted its prerogative in the owner- 
ship of all mines and minerals. No person could search 
for ore, unless empowered by the royal grant ; and the 
conditions imposed were at the discretion of the reign- 
ing monarch. The owner of the ground in which a 
mine was discovered derived no profit from its being 
worked, till the beginning of Henry VI. 's reign, when 
the duke of Bedford, regent of France, obtained a lease 
of all the gold and silver mines within the kingdom 
for ten years, on payment of a tenth to the church, a 
fifteenth to the king, and a twentieth to the proprietor 
of the land. In the year 1452, Henry VI. engaged 
three miners from the Continent, with their assistants, 
to work his mines, so profoundly ignorant were the 
English then of the arts and sciences, from which they 
now derive so large a portion of their wealth and 
celebrity. Queen Elizabeth too, by the advice of her 
council, sent for some experienced Germans to carry 
on the business of the mines, as well as that of refining 
and smelting minerals, to whom she granted her letters 
patent to search for mines of gold, silver, copper, and 
quicksilver, in various counties of England, and the 

MINES. 67 

Principality of Wales. A year after ste made two 
more grants : one to Cornelius Devosse, and the other 
to William Humphrey and Christopher Shutz. These 
foreigners ultimately divided part of their tenure into 
shares, which they sold, and formed a body, incor- 
porated under the title of " The Governor, Assistants, 
and Commonalty of the Mines Royal/' By all these 
instruments, as well as by those of former reigns, a 
power was given to sink shafts anywhere except in gar- 
dens, or underneath the foundations of castles or houses. 
Thus were the mineral resources of the country — ^in- 
stead of being dealt out piecemeal to favourites and 
courtiers too ignorant or indolent to estimate their 
value, or pursue their improvement — ^placed under the 
direction of such a public body as could remedy in 
some degree the baneful effects, without abandoning 
the high pretensions, of an unlimited prerogative. 
Such was the foundation then laid for those great 
manufacturing interests, which required, and ultimately 
obtained, a solid independence, fortified against the 
attacks of arbitrary power, and exposed to none but 
the very remote danger of our declining industry as a 

Public attention now being directed into this chan- 
nel, the discovery of metallic veins became so frequent, 
that the company, doubting, perhaps, the success of all 
the ventures which were proposed to them, began to 
farm their exclusive rights to enterprising individuals. 
The Cardiganshire mines, among the most abundant 
in lead and silver, were, during the whole of the 
seventeenth century, precisely in this situation. 

Sir Hugh Myddelton, whose enterprising character 

58 MIXS8. 

and great wealth render him somewhat of a hero in 
mining annals, realized the greater part of his property 
by farming the chief mines in Cardiganshire, which he 
held from the Governor and Company of Mines Royal 
at a yearly rent of fonr hundred pounds. He coined 
his silver into crowns, angels, &c., in Aberystwith 
Castle ; and so profitable were his ventures, that from 
one mine alone, yielding one hundred ounces of silver 
from one ton of lead, he derived a clear profit of two 
thousand pounds a month. This princely revenue was 
all expended in his great work of supplying the city of 
London with water — an undertaking which had ter- 
rified every other adventurer; but which Sir Hugh 
completed in the reign of James I., who, with his 
court, was present at the first opening of this grea 
public work. Sir Hugh, like many more public bene- 
factors, impoverished himself for the benefit of thou- 
sands, and his family declined into narrow circum- 
stances, while he himself practised as a surveyor, to 
help his shattered finances. Sir Hugh Myddelton was 
succeeded in these mines by Mr. Bushell in the reign 
of Charles I., of whom mention has been made in the 
account of Aberystwith Castle. 

The sojourner at Aberystwith will do well to visit the 
chief mining-stations around that place, not alone on 
account of the internal wealth of the mountain-ranges 
by which he will find himself surrounded, but to 
become acquainted with the peculiarly wild, vast, and 
generally sterile character of the scenery. The dis- 
tricts most rich in mineral treasures are almost inva- 
riably the most barren in vegetative beauty, but their 

"Huge crags And knolU oonfus^dly burled," 

MINKS. 59 

broken into rugged glens, or traversed by deep and 
dark ravines, where the impetuous mountain torrents 
roar along, are magnificently grand, and serve well to 
enhance the sylvan loveliness of the graceful vales so 
often found beside these gloomy regions of hidden 

I know not a better route for showing the gradation 
of Cardiganshire scenery than the way from Aber- 
ystwith to the mines of Daren. The road crossing a 
high hill, north-east of the town, leads you for some 
time in view of the luxuriant woods, pastures, and corn- 
fields, which make the Rheidol valley such a garden of 
beauty, girt with swelling hills, and watered by its fair 
river. Shortly, in a narrow but avenue-like lane, you 
pass Gogerddan, surrounded by all of comfort, luxury, 
and beauty that nature and art can combine for man^s 
enjoyment. Farther on, after passing the race-ground, 
the hedgerows become less thickly planted with fine 
trees, and the landscape loses much of its wooded rich- 
ness. Soon a straggling dirty village, of such cottages 
as I have formerly described, oficrs its divers impedi- 
ments of pigs, poultry, pots, and pans, to the traveller, 
and as he emerges from its peat-smoke atmosphere, the 
scene generally grows more and more wild, cultureless, 
and vast, till enormous hilly masses of moorland, heaped 
mountain-wise one over another, form the whole ex- 
panse of country, varied only by the silvery threads of 
gushing streamlets, the alternating tints of gorse and 
heather, and the thinly scattered dwellings of the pea- 
santry. Amid scenery of this character, on the road 
to Machynlleth, is the remarkable cist-vaen, supposed 
by some persons to be the burial-place of the baid 


Taliesin, and called Owely Taliesin, or Taliesin's bed ; 
and the popular superstition is, that should any one 
sleep a night in this bed, he would the next day become 
either a poet or a fool. Sir S. R. Meyrick, whose great 
antiquarian lore entitles his opinions to general cre- 
dence, considers it rather the monument of a Druid, 
and the matter-of-fact Camden says, " I take this, and 
all others of this kind, for old heathen monuments, 
and am far from believing that ever Taliesin was in- 
terred here/' Tlie last information we have respecting 
Taliesin leaves him at the court of King Alfred, who 
loved so well to retain around him the gifted of his age, 
that it appears unlikely that the bard would have 
returned to the comparatively uncivilized region where 
we find his supposed grave. Many of this poet's com- 
positions are still extant, and have much of the grave, 
solemn, and peculiar beauty of the ancient Welsh 



High o*er his mates, how huge Plinliinmon lifto 
His many-beaconed head! — 0*er-coronaUed 
With still and shadowy mist^ — or rolling storms 
That speak lond-voioed to the echoing hills. 
And rouse repeated thunder. 

* « « * 

See yon vale. 

Where, dancing onward, like a sportive chikl, 
A gashing streamlet frolics in the light, 
Gushing from rock to rock, as though its waves 
Were the transformed feet of mountain nymph. 
And these her wonted haunts. And even so 
May our fiintastic fancy deem her yet — 
That brook is e'en Plinlimmon's fiurest child — 
The peerless Wtx.— L. A. Twaklbt. 

HiTHEBTO I have been wandering at will^ and lead- 
ing my readers in an erratic and uncertain tracks 
whither chance and my wayward fancy directed. Now 
oor path will be restricted^ at least for the present, to 
the banks of the river Wye, which, as our heroine for 
the time being, shall receive careful attention in our 
proposed biographical and topographical memoir. 

My own Wye-ward progress having been made from 
Aberystwith, I cannot, perhaps, do better than marshal 
my readers the way I went. On quitting the interesting 


vale of the Bheidol (by the new road to Bhaiadyr), 
stupendous mountains close in on every side, round 
which the road is carried, winding along the precipitous 
sides, without the semblance of a fence for the conso* 
lation of the nervous or timid traveller, save a few 
whited stones, placed at intervals on the vei^ of the 
perpendicular ravine which yawns below, to indicate 
the curve to be taken by the skilful charioteer. At the 
time of my passing these magnificent scenes, the gorse, 

''That bonny wild flower. 
Whose blossoms so yellow, and branches so long, 
0*er moor and o'er rough rocky mountain are flange 

Far away from trim garden aiid bower/' 

was blooming in its most lavish loveliness of hue and 
fragrance, perfuming the clear mountain air with its 
soft breath, and shedding a rich golden light over the 
wide untenanted hills, then calmly sleeping in the glow 
of a summer afternoon sky. The heather, too, spread 
far around its pink and purple bells, where the wild 
bees were busily humming and gathering their sweet 
store in the merry sunshine. 

Ere crossing the upmost ridge of this mountain- 
chain, a most lovely view of Cardigan Bay greeted me; 
there it lay, sunlit to the horizon, and specked with a 
fairy array of white-winged, gleaming vessels, softly, 
and to me imperceptibly, gliding along. It was a beau- 
tiful, yet a sad view; for I left much that was dear 
behind, perhaps never to see again; and, albeit a wan- 
derer in many lands, my heart has room for fond 
memories of them all. Either the bright sunlight 
dazzled my eyes, or something dimmed them, so I went 


on my way — ^if not rejoicings at least in that half-snb- 
dued^ thoughtful mood^ which best suited the grand^ 
calm solitude around. 

Journeying on through defiles cut in the solid rock^ 
and then over a wild dreary tract of country, covered 
with turbaries^ and intersected by vein-like streamlets 
traversing the mimic valleys of the turf in all direc- 
tions^ I reached the comparatively good inn at Font 

Proceeding to the white rails in front of the house, 
to see what they inclosed, my amazement may be 
imagined at finding myself on the verge of a tremen- 
dous cbasm^ in whose deep and dark abyss the Bheidol 
roars along, chafing the stupendous rocks on either 
side, which seem to leave too narrow a path for the 
foaming furious torrent. The perfectly horizontal 
position, and regular structure, of the square and 
sharp masses of rock which form one side of this 
ravine, give them in many places the appearance of 
fortifications and castle-walls; while those on the op- 
posite bank, perhaps not more than fifty feet asunder, 
are seen assuming forms utterly dissimilar in aspect 
and direction to those fix)m which they have evidently 
been separated by some great convulsion of the earth ; 
the disruption occasioning the deep crack or ravine 
through which the Bheidol now flows the whole way to 
the Pont ar Monach, whose wild and fearful scenery 
scarcely exceeds that around Pont Herwid. 

The Bheidol wears the usual mountain-stream hue 
here of dark brown^ and as its heavy waters roll along 
the deep gulf below the dizzy traveller, they look 
almost black in the shadow of the huge barriers which 


shut out any but a vertical sun from the dim recesses 
of this wild ravine. The Castell, a purer and nearly 
colourless stream^ flowing from an opposite direction, 
meets the Rheidol at this spot, and, plunging down a 
narrow defile in the rocks, forms a magnificent cascade, 
flinging its scattered streamers of snowy foam, spark- 
ling in the upper air, to join the murky heavy-rolling 
waves of the larger river below. The whole scene is 
wondrously, indescribably grand and beautiful; and 
the rich purple of the heather-bells, the pink tinge of 
the ling, the scarlet berries of the mountain-ash, gleam- 
ing out from their graceful fringe-like foliage, grouped 
with the elegant form of the birch, which seems to bend 
over the ravine as trying to see its delicate branches 
mirrored in the stream so turbulently boiling along 
below — ^with a thousand minuter beauties gemming 
both turf and crag with their exquisite forms and 
colours — all smiling in the sunlight, as if exulting in 
their own fair loveliness, combined to render this a 
scene for memory to cherish for aye. 

A picturesque mill, with its busy wheel and foaming 
stream, very agreeably enlivens the near landscape, 
while the cloud-capped mountains rise majestically 
above to complete this unimaginable scene. 

The windings of the chasm or ravine are very sin- 
gular and abrupt. I thought, as I stood gazing in rapt 
admiration on their tortuous and rugged sides, what a 
beautiful thing it would be — ^though certainly only 
practicable for a bird — to follow the Bheidol through 
all these wild glens and dingles, down to its union with 
the Mynach, and so on to Aberystwith. 

Beyond Pout Herwid the road becomes less inter- 



esting^ and the prospect less varied, tlioagh very grand 
and exalting. How free one's spirit feels among these 
trackless mountains ! No marvel is it to me that the 
Cymru of old were all hut unconquerahle — the very 
sight of their hills is enough to make a patriot's spirit 
arise in the tamest heart.* Dwellers among mountains 
have ever been dearer lovers and braver defenders of 
their native climes than the sojourners on monotonous 
and level tracts of country. The Switzers, the Tyro- 
lese, the Highlanders, and the Welsh, are ample proofs 
of this. Even a transient glimpse of such scenes as 
their lives were passed among, has its effect both on 
mind and body. How boundingly we traverse the high 
and breezy hills ! The fresh, free air seems to elevate 
and purify our thoughts; and the foot, treading the 
springy heather, gains swiftness and elasticity as it 
bounds along. Vfe sing aloud in simple youthful 
exultation, and feel as if we could soar through the 
bright blue sky above us like the lark ; — ^such glad and 
buoyant beings can an hour's life ou these hills create 
out of staid, sober, matter-of-fact worldlings. 

Our next resting-place bears the sounding name of 
the ''Plinlimmon Hotel," a small wayside hostel at 
Eisteddfa Gurrig, so grandiloquized ; and hence, pro- 

* King Henry II., in Answer to the inquiries of Emanuel, emperor 
of Constantinople, respecting Britain, replied : " That in a part of the 
island there was a people called Welsh, so bold and ferocious, that 
when unarmed, they did not fear to encounter an armed force, being 
ready to shed their blood in defence of their country, and to sacrifice 
their lives for military renown ;*' and Giraldas speaks of their constant 
readiness to do battle ; " for," says he, " when the trumpet sounds, the 
husbandman leaves his plough, and mshee to the onset with as much 
eagerness aa the courtier from the palace." — J<met*t HitUtry of Walet. 



coring a guide, the summit of the hoary mountain i« 
generally ascended. Being rendered dangerous by 
swamps and turbaries, this journey is not very fre- 
quently attempted; nor is the view, for which theso 
perils are risked, a sufficient reward for the toil and 
difficulty of the pilgrimage, even when the atmosphere 
is tolerably dear, which is rarely the case. However, 
supposing all things propitious, the panoramic prospect 
from the mountain-top, at an altitude of two thonsand 
four hundred and sixty-three feet, will include in its 
wide-spreading outline the many ridges of the Cardi- 
ganshire hills, lying in wavy extent beneath, and 
expanding in various directions ; on the north appears 
Cader Idris, and part of the Snowdonian chain ; to the 
east and north-east stretch the high lands of Hereford 
and Salop, and the Breidden hills; on the west lies the 
wide expanse of Cardigan's fair bay, with the Channel, 
and perhaps a faint line on the horizon, which is 

Plinlimmon is famed in historic annals as having 
been an important station occupied by the renowned 
Owen Glyndwr, in the summer of 1401, who here 
posted himself at the head of his men in arms. From 
this place he harassed the country exceedingly ; sacked 
Montgomery, burnt Pool, and destroyed the Abbey of 
Cwm Hir, in Radnorshire ; his intrenchments still 
remain on his mountain citadel. In a bog near the 
summit was found the blade of a two-edged British 
spear, which is supposed to have been used in the 
army of the Welsh hero. 

Numerous birds frequent this spot — ravens, cranes, 
herons, snipes, both the lesser and greater, with flocks 


of plovers. The hill has little vegetative beauty to 
smooth its ragged features of wild^ sterile grandeur; 
towards the summit patches of coarse grass mingle 
with heaps of loose stones and fragments of rock 
which lie all around^ among which are quantities of 
very pure quartz. Amid these blocks of quartz are 
numerous hillocks of peat earth, so light as to be 
driven about by the wind like sand-hills on the sea- 
coast. The summit is divided into two heads, upon 
each of which is a camedd. That on the highest peak 
is of a pyramidal shape. These were supposed to have 
contained blazing fires, in times of war, which might 
be seen from more than ten counties, and thus to have 
been anciently used as beacons, to give notice of an 
approaching enemy. It is held as a sacred custom 
among most of the Welsh who visit the mountain, to 
add one or more stones to the heap. 

The chief celebrity of this hill-king of Southern 
Cambria is the circumstance of five rivers having their 
origin among its knoUs and cwms, for Plinlimmon is 
rather a group of three mountains, each of which con- 
sists of many lesser ones, piled pyramid-wise into one 
gigantic heap, than a single mountain ; and from their 
fissures and dislocations flow forth the several streams 
of the Sevrm, the Rheidol, the Llyffnant, the Clewedog, 
and the Wye. 

In its early youth, the Wye is the most important of 
these sister-rivers, and thence its name of Gwy or Wye, 
signifying ''the river;'' and though in magnitude the 
stately Sabrina soon surpasses our fair favourite, in 
loveliness she is unrivalled, and these pages must be to 
her as knights of old^ proclaiming her peerless charms, 

F 2 


and calling in the artist-witnesses to proye the trath of 
their statements. Following the Wye from her source, 
amid turbaries and swamps, I soon found myself jour- 
neying side by side with a gay, sportive streamlet, 
playful as a child, dancing merrily down the glen, 
frisking about in foam and spray if a stone or a rock 
chanced to offer a pretext for a splashy gambol,^ and 
wearing the russet tint of her neighbour streams. 
Mountains — glorious mountains — cradle the young 
beauty as she bounds into light, and long do they 
shelter her amid their fortress-rocks, and bend their 
hoary heads over her frolicsome path, like aged grand- 
sires smiling fondly and calmly on the vagaries of the 
petted child, who tumbles and gambols around their 

Feeling disposed to remain in the immediate vicinity 
of such wild and magnificent scenery as the early part 
of the Wye's progress led me into, I determined to 
take up my night's quarters at the first inn which 
presented itself; accordingly, on entering Llangurig, a 
place honoured in all travellers' note-books witb the 
cognomen of " wretched," I halted at the open door of 
what I half-instinctively felt to be the house of enter- 
tainment, and, as it proved, the only one in the place. 
''My good woman," said I, addressing a mob-capped 
personage, who appeared at my rather noisy summons, 
— " my good woman, can I have a bed here to-night ?" 
" I thinks iss ; but it was not one to like." " Never 
mind — ^let me see it." "Iss, but you wass not like 
hur." She was right, I did not like it, indeed — a hay- 
loft had been luxurious in comparison — but here was 
UO hayloft neither, so I had no alternative but to 


proceed to Rbaiadyr. However^ a blazing peat fire 
tempted me to the kitchen^ and while making a hurried 
repast, I was indulged with Welsh singing, much rapid 
Welsh converse, and peals of light-hearted laughter 
from the merry crowd of both sexes there congregated, 
among whom it seemed — I hope I do not scandalize 
the ladies by so saying, — ^that the stout Welsh ale was 
doing its wonted magical work. 

The fire was divided into two portions : over one 
hung a huge iron pot, with a flat lid, on the top of 
which lay five or six blazing clods of peat turf. On 
inquiry, I found this was the family oven, or, in other 
words, *' she wass to fire bread in ;'* and inside was a 
loaf of wheaten flour of most comely dimensions, 
similar to the one I had been laying rather vigorous 
si^e to, and which was excellent household bread, 
though, had my appetite been less keenly sharpened 
by Plinlimmon's cool breezes, I might perhaps have 
objected to a slight flavour of peat smoke, which is not 
quite so great a desideratum in bread as in whiskey. 
The walls and rafters of this apartment-of-alUwork 
were well garnished with bacon, cheese, and other sub- 
stantials; and truly the ''house'' had no lack of 
custom ; though I could wish, for my own and other 
travellers' comfort, that it was one of a better class. 
The hostess evidently wished so too, and doubtless, ere 
long, Llangurig will boast of ''superior accommoda- 
tion." The village, though mean and squalid in itself, 
is fiinely situated on the north bank of the Wye, and 
surrounded with lofty mountains, the lower portions of 
which are in some places clothed with wood. 

When I left Llangurig, the full-orbed moon was just 


risiog above the ridge of hills to the eastward^ nnd her 
strongs dear lights together with the host of bright 
stars peeping through the deep dark blue sky, left me 
no reason to regret the ''garish light of day;'' for all 
the features of the grand and beautiful scenery I 
traversed were visible in the calm, quiet hue which 
invested them. 

On my right hand, side by side with the road, flowed 
the Wye, seen ever and anon through the intervening 
trees; her clear waves glancing brightly in the silvery 
moonbeams; and here and there, where a few rocks 
interrupted the fair nymph's progress, chafing and 
foaming along in a series of rapids, as if consdous how 
well a little wrath became her. On either side of the 
river rose stupendous hills — mountains were a more 
correct term — with their feet in the vale, and their 
heads soaring far in the starry sky — craggy and cleft, 
and worn into many a fantastic ravine by the cascade- 
streamlets that rush down their steep sides, bringing 
tributary waters to the Wye. Glorious, in their silent, 
shadowy grandeur, were those half-seen mountains, 
rearing their storm-riven heads like giant spectres} and 
looking sternly and scornfully on little things below. 
The whole scene, the soft moonlight, the lofty moun- 
tains, and the " shining river," made so sweet a picture, 
that I would it were here in eflBgy to gladden the eyes 
of my readers, as it did my own in its fair reality. 
Journeying on, I passed many lovely green-looking 
glens, where the sound of the tumbling, gurgling 
water, and an occasional splash of feathery foam, told 
of a torrent's path amid verdure and flowers. 

On approaching Rhaiadyr, after passing the Nanneth 


irocks^ tlie bed of the river changes considerably in 
character. Through the valley^ near Llangurig, it has 
been bordered by low turf-banks^ here it becomes 
narrower and rocky^ beings in fact^ a chasm through 
which the confined waters roar and struggle along in 
loud chiding anger. The river is now one continued 
series of rapids and cascades^ overhung and fringed by 
places, — 

''With many a tree and many a flower. 
Decking the Naiad's mountain-bower; 
Shading her heaving foam-white breast^ 
Or guly crowning the dark rock's crest." 

Very, very beautiful is that wood-hung torrent ravine, 
and the more beautiful because its perpetual curves 
and turnings prevent the enamoured eye from grasping 
much of the scene at once, and being satisfied ; but by 
ever keeping some dainty bit in reserve, and giving out 
its beauty by degrees, the eye wearies not. 

The town of Bhaiadyr itself presents little to interest 
the traveller ; it consists of two long straggling streets, 
crossing each other at right angles, with an old town- 
hall in the centre. The situation is most enchanting, 
on a rising bank eastward of the Wye, surrounded by 
magnificent ranges of mountains, whose intervening 
valleys are rich in verdure and cultivation, watered by 
clear and rapid streams, and enlivened by scattered 

No vestiges remain of the castle, which, during the 
dominion of the Welsh princes, was a station of much 
importance ; it stood on the Wye bank, north-east of 
the town. 

The elevated bridge, springing from one rock-base 


and resting upon another^ with the falls of the river 
immediately below it, form the most picturesque scene 
to be found in the vicinity of Rhaiadyr. The Wye, 
now become a large and important stream, rushes 
through the one grand and lofty arch of the bridge, 
and, flowing rapidly onwards, is suddenly flung over a 
group of rugged masses of rock, forming a wide, 
varied, and beautiful cascade. The name of the town, 
Rhaiadyr Gwy, is derived from this fall of the Wye, or 
Gwy — Rhaiadyr signifying a cataract, and Gwy a 
river, — a name given pre-eminently to this river, from 
its being, at the outset, the largest of Plinlimmon^s 
streams, and so called Gwy, or the river. 

A few miles from Rhaiadyr, in a delightful valley, 
the persevering antiquarian may gratify his love for 
the departing glories of monastic fanes, by imagining 
that he can trace the remains of the ancient and 
renowned monastery of Abbey Cwm Ilir, on the banks 
of the Clewedog, formerly a religious house, founded, 
according to Leland, by Cadwallon ab Madoc, in 1143, 
for sixty Cistercian monks, and destroyed in 1401, by 
Owen Glyndwr. It is, however, in its site, according 
to the good taste of the holy men of old, in the midst 
of an amphitheatre of hills, calculated to inspire 
sublime and devotional thoughts, with its foot washed 
by the Clewedog, which flows on in everlasting 
murmurs. This place was for many years in the 
possession of the Fowlers, who came here in the time 
of Elizabeth ; and a Welsh adage of this part expresses 
the importance they then enjoyed. 

"Tliere*8 neither park nor deer in Radnorshire, 
Or a man worth five hundred a year. 
Except Sir William Fowler of Abbey Cwmhir." 



Portions of the carvings and masonry have been carried 
away, from time to time, for the erection of farm-build- 
ings, so that the few relics left of the once ''grande 
abbaye '' are trifling and unsatisfactory to the traveller. 
JIany, also, have been transported to other sacred edi- 
fices, especially the six beautiful arches in the church of 
Llanidloes. At an earlier date in its history, this abbey 
had a narrow escape from destruction, as is related by 
that celebrated antiquary Lambarde, in these words : 
— ''What tyme Hen. III. made an Expedition into 
Wales against lMeUi% and had pitched not farre from 
Mountffomerye ; Luellin had made an Ambushe to take 
him, wherof the Kinge havinge Intelligence, sent a 
sufficient Power an other Way then Luellin looked for 
theim, and had taken him, had not a Monke of this 
House bothe advertised Luellin of this Purpose, and also 
most deceitfuUye trayned the Kinge's Souldiours into 
a Myre, under Colour to shew them a most easie 
Passage. Suche as escaped complayned of the Fraude, 
the Kinge moved withe the Monke, and findinge more- 
over that the House it selfe had succoured Luellin, 
comaunded Fire to be put to it. The Abbot came 
knelinge, and oflFered by his Freindes 300 Markes for 
amendes, the which the Kinge with muche adoe at last 
rcceyved, and saved the House." 

Numerous carneddau arise on the heights around 
this neighbourhood, and tumuli are not unfrequently 
seen ; but the chief charm it boasts is the wild and 
magnificeut character of its natural beauties — its 
frowning mountains, romantic glens, and torrent 
streams. To acquire a right conception of these 
glories, a wanderer could scarcely pursue a better route 
than the one I will here briefly sketch for the benefit 


of any who may condescend to follow my track. 
Quitting Rhaiadyr^ and passing over the bridge^ choose 
the northward road — ^the old road to Aberystwith; 
it leads gradually along the side of a steep cliff-like 
hill, overhanging a green little valley, turfed like a 
lawn, sprinkled with cottage dwellings, and bounded 
by the everlasting hills, while in its very bosom lies a 
lake — black, even in the laughing sunshine — ^like an 
ink-spot on the verdant carpet. Toiling wearily on- 
wards, for the hill up which we ascend is four long 
miles, and, as the landlord of mine inn rather poeti- 
cally observed, "you seem to be going to heaven," — 
ground comparatively level is at length gained — a 
high, wide, swelling moorland, crowned in several 
places by camau and tumuli, and extending around, far 
as the eye can reach, in one vast undulating waste, 
untenanted and uncultivated. The solitary grandeur 
of the scene is impressively beautiful, and the count- 
less skylarks which people the clear air with their 
sweet voices, warbling their most eloquent music 
blithely around, add to the stem majesty of Nature 
her choicest melody. Springing from the turf within 
a few feet of the solitary wanderer; they soar past him, 
their quivering twinkling wings soon lost in the deep 
expanse of the cloudless summer sky, and their songs, 
like spirit-voices, greeting him from forms unseen. I 
involuntarily exclaimed, in the words of the poet Hogg — 

"Bird of the wilderness, 
Blithesome and cumberlesa. 

Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea I 
Emblem of happiness, 
Blest Is thy dwelling-place, 
Oh ! to abide in the desert with theo ! " 


Beside tlic road^ and trickling down among the rocks 
or knolls of the hills^ a hundred little streamlets are 
dancing and sparkling along^ while flowers minute^ but 
wondrously beautiful in their miniature forms and deli- 
cate colours, enamel the turf, and sweeten it for the 
straggling and timid sheep. Here and there, a grave- 
looking, pompous raven hopped heavily about, and 
seemed to be taking accurate observations of my move- 
ments in his neighbourhood; but no human shapes 
appeared in sight, until, descending on the opposite 
side of this moorland, I found a party of peat-cutters 
busily at work in a turbary, stacking and carrying their 
winter stock of fuel. 

Descending to the valley, the traveller should cross 
the Elan, and then, trusting himself to the river's 
guidance, follow it through all its fantastic curves, now 
through a bleak rocky ravine, then through a vale of 
fairy-like beauty, till he arrive at Cwm Elan, the para- 
dise of the district, created, like Hafod, out of bare and 
ctdtureless land. The poet Bowles has devoted one of 
his sweetest descriptions to Cwm Elan ; I cannot for- 
bear quoting a few of his graceful pencUling lines : — 

"Now wind we up the glen, and hear below 
The dashing torrent in deep woods conce&led, 
And now again, while flashing on the view, 
0*er the huge cnggy fragments — 
But loftier scenes inrite ns ; pass the hill. 
And through the woody hanging, at whose feet 
The tinkling Elan winds, pursue thj way. 
Ton bleak and weather-whitened rock, immense 
Upshoots amid the scene, craggy and steep, 
And like some high embattled citadel 
That awes the low plain shadowing. Half way up 
The purple heath is seen, but bare its brow, 


And deep-intreoched, and all beneath it spread 
With masBj fragments riven from its top. 
Amid the crags, and scarce discerned on high, 
Hangs here and there a sheep, by its faint Lleat 
DiscoTered, while th* astonished eye looks up, 
And marks it on the precipice's brink 
Pick its scant food secure. Now through the wood 
We steal, and maik the old and mossy oaks 
Emboss the mountun's slope ; or the wild ash. 
With rich, red clusters mantling ; or the birch 
In lonely glens light-wavering ; till behold, 
The rapid river shooting through the gloom 
Its lucid line along/* 

Such is the lovely valley of the Elan, and well do iU 
myriad beauties repay the wanderer's toil. 

Before proceeding on my Wye pilgrimage, it may 
perhaps appear but correct that proper respect be paid 
to the county town of New Radnor, which is, however, 
but a mean, squalid-looking place, though in far-distant 
times it was of much greater importance, having been 
inclosed by a square wall, with four Roman gates, 
bearing some resemblance to those at the stations of 
Caerleon and Caerwent. Its castle, which formerly 
occupied a high artificial mound north-west of the 
town, was finally demolished by those determined and 
persevering levellers, the Parliamentarians, during the 
civil wars. The decline of Radnor is dated from Owen 
Glyndwr, who destroyed the castle then existing, and 
ravaged all the surrounding district. A fragment of a 
foundation, composed of the black slate or flag-stone 
of the neighbourhood, is all now left, save the earth- 
works which adjoin the churchyard. The church is an 
old and simple structure, with a low square tower, and 
very few narrow windows; an antique sundial and 


Bonie fine old yew-trees adorn the small inclosure sur- 
rounding it. The view from the castle tump of the 
vale of Radnor^ taking in Radnor Forest^ and the rich^ 
garden-like country towards Presteign, is exceedingly 

'' Old Radnor/' saith Leland, " was anncyently called 
Maiseveth^ of the faire and pleasant meadowes that the 
ryver of Wye maketh thearabout;*' but it has long 
been a place of small importance^ and is now chiefly 
noticeable for its fine old church, which occupies a 
commanding situation on a rock, and contains a screen 
richly carved in wood, extending, contrary to the usual 
custom, across the nave and two side aisles, and some 
handsome monuments to the family of Lewis of Harp- 
ston, whose seat is in the vicinity. Mean as this place 
may now appear, it was once a Roman station, called 
by Marcus Antoninus the city Magnos, where the Pa- 
censian legion lay in garrison, under the command of a 
lieutenant of Britain, in the time of Theodosius the 
Yoimger. In more modem days, it entertained to 
supper Charles I., in his flight from the Parliamentary 
forces, after the disastrous battle of Naseby. 

Not far from Old Radnor are the Stanner Rocks, a 
volcanic group, highly picturesque in form and magni- 
tude, and bearing in their almost inaccessible clefts 
numbers of rare and beautiful wild flowers, in honour 
of which one part is vulgarly called the Devil's Garden. 
The stone being of a hard compact texture, and useful 
for road-making, these singular and interesting rocks 
are in a fair way for demolition, being quarried to a 
great extent. About three miles from the Stanner 
Rocks is Knill Court, a tasteful residence in one of the 


laveliest spots imaginable. Witldn the grounds stands 
the small and simple ivy-grown church, where Sir 
Samuel Bomilly was interred. A stream runs at the 
foot of the steep, but not lofty bank, on which the 
house and gardens stand, and opposite rise the wooded 
and magnificent hills of Knill Garraway and the Iler- 
rock, both traversed by Offals Dyke. At a very short 
distance is an ancient encampment on Burva Bank, and 
pursuing the road to Fresteign, the grand lime rocks 
at Nash are equally welcome to the eyes of painter or 
geologist; to the one for their noble forms, to the other 
for the organic remains they contain. 

The cheerful and orderly appearance of modem Pres- 
teign forms a pleasing variety to the generality of towns 
in Radnorshire, and offers a singular contrast to its 
ancient condition, when it was celebrated as a place of 
British worship to Andras, the goddess of confusion 
and the woods. The church is adorned, in the interior, 
by painted figures and scriptural inscriptions. It con- 
tains, also, some monumental tablets, and an altar-piece 
of tapestry, representing Christ's entry into Jerusalem. 
The Castle of Fresteign, like so many of its compeers 
in former feudal grandeur and tyranny, has vanished 
from its place. The site, called the Warden, is now 
more worthily occupied by pleasant winding walks, 
shaded by beautiful trees, and affording glimpses of the 
surrounding most lovely scenery. The remarkably fine 
encampment of Weobly, or Wapley Hill, is only four 
miles distant from Fresteign. To the antiquarian this is 
a highly interesting relic, being one of the most perfect 
camps remaining in Britain. It is irregularly oval ; on 
the east, west, and south, are four ditches ; but the north, 
being nearly inaccessible, is only defended by a single 


rallum^ which nins along the brow of the hill. It is 
said to have been originally thrown up by the Romans ; 
but Caractacus occupied it for a considerable time with 
a formidable force. How changed is now the scene of 
former martial pomp and warlike tumult ! Instead of 
armed legions of soldiery, thronging with heavy tread 
the crowded camp, the innocent rabbits go springing 
over the heather — sole tenants, save the wild birds, of 
this " great station.^' Where bristling lines of spears 
were wont to girdle the whole hilUside, an ocean of fern- 
leaves are waving gracefully in the summer breeze ; and 
on the steepest side of the hill, called the Warren Wood, 
is a rich plantation of young oaks, full of lovely laby- 
rinthine walks and arcades, redolent of the perfume of 
all sweet flowers that love the shade, and abounding in 
rare and delicate plants. Some silver coins have been 
dug up in this station, and on the eastern eminence a 
bell-metal pot was discovered, which had probably been 
used to hold burning pitch, as a gathering or warning 
beacon, in former times of invasion, or internecine 

The panoramic view from the summit is one of great 
extent and varied beauty. The vale of Radnor, rich 
and luxuriant, opens to the west, backed by the gloomy 
and swelling outlines of the forest hills. Presteign, 
and the villas of Broadheath and Stapleton, appear on 
the north. Southward the eye recognises the Skyrrid, 
Sugarloaf, and Black mountains — May Hill, Malvern 
hills, and many more, which, as this digression to New 
Radnor and Presteign savours somewhat of truantism 
from our liege lady and heroine — the fair Wye, we 
pause not now to describe ; yet as few would journey 
back to Rhaiadyr without visiting the chief lion of the 


Radnor neighbourhood^ a brief notice may be here 
allowed of the wild cataract, called fantastically Water- 
break-its-neck. Quitting the highroad about a mile 
fix>m New Radnor, I entered a glen of highland wild- 
ness, between great hills spread fSsur and wide around, 
swelling suddenly upward from the craggy banks of 
the clear mountain streamlet, which flows through the 
narrow valley in a meandering course over a rocky bed, 
forming miniature pictures of cascades and rapids. 
Small silvery thread-like lines, glittering among the 
turf on the distant heights, showed where the tributary 
waters were trickling down; and ever and anon a troop 
of playful sheep, chasing each other along the hill-side, 
might be seen leaping lightly across the small ravines 
worn by these petty cataracts, which, when swollen by 
wintry rains, sweep down in full and formidable volume. 
On I wandered — along this wild glen, which seemed to 
grow yet more dreary and solitarily grand as I advanced. 
Still keeping close to the stream, and often crossing it 
by springing from one piece of rock to another, I 
arrived at an abrupt turning, which placed me at once 
in a cavern-like ravine of almost naked slate rocks, 
rising high and dark on either side, like walls of 
masonry mouldering with age, seeming ready to topple 
over and crush the passing traveller, yet here and there, 
richly hung with trees and parasite plants : — 

The rock's bleak aammit frowns aboye our head. 
Looking immediate down ; we almost fear 
Lest some enormous fragment should descend 
With hideous sweep into the vale, and crush 
The intruding visitant. No sound is here, 


Save of the stream that shrills, and now and then 
A ay as of faint wailing, when the kite 
Comes sailing o'er the crags, or straggling lamb 
Bleats for its mother." 

Continuing along this defile, another sudden turn leads 
to the front of the fall, which is similar to the one at 
Pwll Caradoc, though less lofty, and not so richly 
wooded. The rocks form a narrow, high amphitheatre, 
over which the water is precipitated from the height of 
seventy feet, and falling into a dark pool, meanders 
away among the fragments of rock, until it gains the 
more open glen whence I had traced its course. A 
more wild and savage scene could scarcely be realized ; 
but its terrific effect must be greatly increased when 
the melted snow and falling rain have increased the 
volume of the waters, till they roll down, not in one, 
but in five or six cascades, dashing and foaming in all 
their wrath and power. It is remarkable that trout 
of a large size have been found in all parts of this fall, 
even in the chinks and crevices of the rock, where the 
turbulent waters find a momentary resting-place. It 
is a spot of considerable danger, and one traveller 
relates having seen the carcasses of two sheep and a 
goat, which had fallen from the slippery heights into 
this dismal chasm. 

Llandegley, a neat little village celebrated for its 
medicinal springs of sulphureous vitriolic water, lies on 
the way to Rhaiadyr, and is well worthy a brief 
sojourn, for the sake of its attractive scenery. A very 
singular range of rocks, abounding in quartz crystals, 
nearly joins the churchyard, and is much visited both 
for the views it commands, and the glittering treasures 
which may be won from its clefts and sides. 




Kow ft little onwmrd, where the Wfty 

Aeoendfl ftboTe the oeks that fkr below 

Shftde the nide steep, let oontemplfttion lemd 

Our wftiy steps ; from this clothed eminenoe 

Tis pleasant^ and yet fearful, to look down 

Upon the river roaring, and fiur off 

To see it stretch in peace, and mark the rooks 

One after one, in solemn mijesty 

Unfolding their wild reaches, here with wood 

Mantled, beyond abrupt and bare, and each 

As if it stroye with emulous disdain 

To tower in ruder, darker amplitude. — ^Bowus. 

Obntle readers, we will now return to the Wye, and 
pursue our journey from Bhaiadyr. Would that ye could 
all behold the scenes to which my pleasant wanderings 
conducted me ; would that ye could see them, as I did, 
arrayed in their brightest and loveliest garb. The 
fairy sovereigns of the ''skyey influences" never 
bestowed a more heavenly morning on mortal pilgrim, 
than they vouchsafed to me for my journey to Builtb. 
The bend of the Wye below Bhaiadyr was a picture 
ready arranged for any prince of landscape-painters. 
The broad quiet river, skirted with rich woods, indica- 
ting the course of the stream by their curving direo- 


lion ; the distant town^ half hidden beneath its light 
smoky mist; the bright meadow foreground, with a 
group of idle, happy boys basking in the warm sun- 
shine, and pulling flowers among the grass, while near 
them a lusty white horse, which would have done well 
for the pencil of Wouvermans, slowly and enjoyingly 
forded the clear brown stream — these were the newr 
objects in the landscape, all engirt by the high hills^ 
standing out in bright relief against the pure blue sky^ 
their cwms intersecting them with lines of shadow, and 
meadows and cornfields bordering the slope, with their 
cheerful patchwork of inclosures : it was a scene which 
deserved to be immortalized by one of the noblest sons 
of the noble art. 

Wending onwards, my road lay along the side of a 
gigantic, craggy, woody mountain, Gwastaden by name, 
on whose lofty summit are some of the largest camaa 
in the county. Opposite the abrupt turn which the 
road makes over this promontory-shaped hiU at Aber 
daw ddwr, the vale of the Elan opens to view, and its 
fair river joins the Wye, after passing under a light, 
simple, wooden bridge, which, with one or two finely- 
situated farm-steads on the river's bank, adds a sort 
of living, social beauty to the scene. The wooden 
bridges in Wales particularly please my fancy; they 
are so evidently built for use, and not ostentation ; and 
where one of the cumbrous, hump-backed brick affairs, 
we so abound in here, would shut out all of beauty 
beyond it, these more simple and suitable fabrics add 
to a fine scene, by their picturesque and unobtrusive 
forms, without hiding one other charm. 

Still passing on, round the grand Owastaden, the 
o 2 


scene is constantly varying on the right, as we view 
the two vales of the Wye and Elan in diflterent posi- 
tions, ever lovely, ever new, while on the left, rude 
massy crags in picturesque disorder maintain their 
stem harsh features, gradually deepening in tone &om 
the clearly-seen rocks and heather in the foreground, 
to the dim, yet rich, purple of the o'ercrowning and 
distant peaks. The vale of the Wye soon expands into 
a considerable flat, where the rock-chafed river mur- 
murs between broad turfy banks, tenanted by large 
flocks of geese, who were most industriously picking 
their living among the swamps and rushes. Swans 
had been more classical adjuncts to the scene; but all 
travellers have not the power of transmuting homely 
into honourable things ; and for my own part I deemed 
the snowy geese very pretty and entertaining per- 
sonages, parading their grassy realm, as if they con- 
ceived nothing on earth more lordly than themselves, 
and stretching their sapient heads disdainfully and con- 
temptuously in the air, at the approach of so mean an 
animal as a poor pedestrian wanderer — ^verily these 
geese strongly resembled bipeds of another class. 

About four miles from Rhaiadyr, the small village 
and tiny church of Llanwrthwl look out from their 
mountain nest of wood and heather upon the broad 
river below, whose course we now pursue through the 
woods skirting its eastern bank, which only allow occa- 
sional peeps of the opposite towering hills, also belted 
with avenues and groups of fine trees. Numerous 
residences are erected in this vicinity, blending the 
cultivated and beautiful with the wild and stern most 



Proceeding along the road towards Builth^ I occa- 
sionally diverged to the rights and walked along the 
banks of the sparkling river. Fresh vales^ and hills^ 
and streams^ opened in all their loveliness as I advanced. 
On my left lay the hill called Rhiw Graid, and two or 
three miles beyond, the high and frowning peak of 
Dolevan Hill, a huge cone-shaped ''monarch of the 
upper air/' surrounded by a number of farms. Re- 
gaining the high road, I soon reached the little village 
of Newbridge, opposite to Llys-dinam, where, as inti- 
mated by the name, a bridge crosses the Wye. 

Four miles from Builth the Wye receives the tribu- 
tary waters of the river Ithon, whose course is marked 
by the same features of grandeur and romantic love- 
liness as distinguish the more important stream. The 
small, but singularly varied and rich scene about Font 
ar Ithon^ is scarcely exceeded by any on the Wye above 
Eoss. The Ithon flows past Llandrindod, whose 
mineral springs still attract invalid visitors, and which 
is an interesting neighbourhood to the antiquary, from 
the many Druidic and other remains which it possesses. 
Another winding river, the Irvon, falls into the Wye, 
just above Builth, at which place a fine bridge spans 
the now wide stream over which we enter the town. 

Builth, like Rhaiadyr, and all other towns in such 
splendid scenery, is finely and picturesquely situated, 
and, seen from any of the surrounding heights, looks 
pretty enough itself; but on a nearer inspection, the 
streets prove narrow and zigzag, and contain but few 
good houses. It is said by the chronicler Jones to 
have derived its name, Built, or Bualt, ''from its 
having been woody or boscage land.'* The Brecknock- 


shire historian complains that the town^ ''from one end 
to the other^ is a continuation of shops and public 
houses/' irhich he accounts for from the " considerable 
tract of country that is to be supplied from this place; 
there being no market for fifteen miles round/'''^ 

The Castle of Builth has shared the fate of its con- 
temporaries at Bhaiadyr, Radnor^ Presteign^ and divers 
other places^ formerly held in feudal bondage by the 
owners and rulers of their respective fortresses; its 
existing ruins, comprising only a fragment of a founda- 
tion-wall on the north side of the keep-mound, which 
is forty or fifty yards in circumference, is encircled by a 
ditch, and defended on the north side by two trenches. 
These earthworks remain in tolerable distinctness, and 
form a favourite walk for the inhabitants of the town : 
they occupy about two acres of ground, and command 
an extensive view of the river Wye, and the vale of 
Builth, and a wide circle of mountains both near and 
distant ; some enriched with forests, but the greater 
portion consisting of wild moorland and broken rocky 
ground. Brecknockshire, on the verge of which 
county Builth is situated, abounds in luxuriant and 
cultivated valleys. 

History furnishes us with no account of the original 
founder of Builth Castle, nor the time of its erection; 
but it was most probably constructed by Bernard New- 
march, who also built the Castle and Priories of Breck- 
nock, and many others. During the wars of the brave 
Welsh princes with King John, Builth Castle was 
several times besieged. In 1217, on the accession of 
Henry III., when Reginald de Bruce, neglectful of his 
• Jones's "History of Brecknockshire," voL ii. 


all^anoe to tbe prince Lleweljm ap Jorwertli, whose 
danghter he had married, went over to the English 
monarch, Llewelyn^ turning his generally rictorions arms 
against his faithless ally, despoiled him of all his impor- 
tant possessions except the Castle of Bnilth, which was 
so well garrisoned and defended as to resist the sum- 
mons of its superior lord. In 1221, Reginald de Brace 
was besieged in the same fortress by a party of Welsh 
lords; but King Henry, to whom he had remained 
constant, came with an army and raised the siege. In 
1260, Lleweljm ap Gruffydd took this castle in the 
night, without opposition or bloodshed, from Soger de 
Mortimer, who then possessed it, and adhered to the 
English king, contrary to his solemn vows of alle- 
giance to Llewelyn. It is supposed that a bridge, lead- 
ing immediately to the castle, formerly existed a few 
jrards lower down the Wye than the present structure, 
which was erected in 1770, and is a long and well- 
looking edifice. 

The circumstance, however, which gives to this place 
its greatest interest in the eyes both of natives and 
travellers, is, that it was the final retreat of the gallant 
but unfortunate Llewelyn, the last of the Welsh princes 
who held the regal power. This monarch, after having 
ravaged the lands of one of his recreant barons in Car- 
diganshire, Sir Bys ap Meredydd, repaired with a 
small body of his friends to Builth, but was refused 
admittance into the fortress, and the inhabitants to 
this day have borne the reproachful title of Bradvryn 
Bualt, or the traitors of Builth. It was winter time 
when Llewelyn accomplished this secret expedition. 
The prince found nearly the whole country in possession 


of the Englisli forces, commanded by Sir Edmund 
Mortimer. The snow now lay thick upon the ground ; 
and in order to deceive his enemies, who were in 
vigilant pursuit of him, he employed a smith of the 
ominous name of Madoc goch min mawr — the read- 
haired, wide-mouthed Madoc, — ^to reverse his horse's 
shoes; but a party of the enemy coming up soon after- 
wards, the treacherous smith betrayed his prince's 
secret. Llewelyn passed the river at the bridge of 
Builth, and stationed his troop on the northern side, 
while he repaired to a neighbouring dingle, to attend 
an appointed meeting of his confederate lords. Here 
he remained alone and unarmed, waiting their arrival 
in vain. The bridge in the mean time was hotly 
assailed by the English forces, and as stoutly main- 
tained by the brave Welsh, until a party was led by 
Sir Elias Walwyn over a ford of the river a little lower 
down, when its brave defenders, attacked in front and 
rear, were obliged to fly for their lives. The victorious 
troops surrounded the dingle, and the unfortunate 
prince, becoming sensible of his danger, and suspicious 
of treachery among his own professed friends, sought 
to make a secret retreat through the forest. Adam de 
Francton, an English knight, discovered and pursued 
the fugitive, and, perfectly unconscious of his rank, 
plunged a spear into his body, and instantly rode off to 
join his own army. The bleeding monarch, faint and 
almost expiring, had just life enough left to implore a 
priest (a monk of the Cistercian order) who chanced to 
be passing at that time, to bestow the last rites of Holy 
Church upon him, and shortly after, with his dying 
blessing upon his beloved Cymru, he expired. After 

'h .ryV r\ 
W i ^ 531 


the mil&j the knight returned to ascertain the quality 
of his enemy, and stripping him, discovered, to his un- 
speakable joy, that it was the Prince of Wales he had 
slain. He took from the pocket of his trousers his 
privy seal, and a letter in cipher, and cutting off his 
head, sent the whole as a most acceptable present to his 
ruthless enemy, Edward. Thus fell, defenceless, and 
abandoned by all, the prince that his enthusiastic bards 
were wont to addrel^ as '^ the dark eagle of the north,'' 
and the ''chief of the golden-bordered shield :" 

" In peace^ fair CAmbrift*8 guiding star I 
Her anchor in the storm of war." 

The body of the prince, neglected and bloody, lay 
unburied for some time, though its interment was 
sought for by the Lady Matilda Longspee, and his 
friends ; and this favour was only granted after it had 
been taken to the Abbey of Conway, and had received 
absolution from the Archbishop of Canterbury. The 
head of the unfortunate prince was paraded through 
the city of London, wreathed with laurel, and sur- 
mounted by a crown, in mockery of the double-sensed 
prophecy to which he had trusted, that ''jie should 
ride through Cheapside with a crown upon his head,'' — 
and placed upon a pinnacle of the Tower. The scene of 
the prince's death is called Cwm Llewelyn, near the 
banks of the Lrvon, a short distance to the westward of 
Builth, and the burial-place, Cefyn y bedd — the grave- 
ridge,— over which a house has been built. 

At a short distance from Builth are the Park Wells, 
consisting of three mineral springs; saline, sulphure- 
ous, and chalybeate, each particularly strong. Pump- 



rooms, in which balls are occasionally given, and other 
accommodations, are provided for visitors, who are often 
very numerous. The abundance of game among the 
neighbouring hills, the fine fish in the Wye and other 
rivers, together with the picturesque and highly salu- 
brious situation of Builth, have induced many families to 
erect residences in the vicinity. 

Continuing the Wye tour from this place, I crossed 
the little river Dihonw, a short distance from its 
junction with the Wye ; after passing which, the high 
road runs parallel with, and dose to, the river, through 
avenues of fine trees, among which are many noble 
old oaks, that, 

"Stretching their gnarled lumui 
AorosB the road, o'erarched it like a bower 
With riob, dense foliage, while their ponderooB trunks 
Made on each side a noble colonnade, 
Through which the sunny river and the sky 
Gleamed in snccessiFe pictures." 

The now wide and full-rolling stream of the Wye is 
here plentifully strewn with fragments of rock of all 
shapes and sizes, from the huge mass, like an over- 
thrown tower rising high above the swelling water, to 
the groups of weed-grown stones that only serve to 
chafe the impetuous torrent into momentary foam and 
fury. Huge mountains on either side confine the 
valley of the river as we advance. Aberedw Hill 
rises on the left bank ; and AUt Mawr, on the right, 
erects its stem precipitous front high and frowningly 
over the shadowed path. The lower portion of the 
hill-side is here and there decked with orchards, whose 
trees, laden with fruit, are backed by the grand oak 
woods which robe it higher up, from among which the 


rocks peep out; and as they consist of horizontal blocks 
of compact slate or flag-stone, similar to those I 
described at Font Herwid, and appear jost on the high 
and commanding points of the eminence, they have 
the predse aspect of a grand, bat rained fortress. 
The same character is observable in the rocks on the 
opposite side of the river, near Aberedw, where the 
romantic and beautifiil stream of the Edw, or Edwy, 
flows into the Wye. The situation of Aberedw is most 
lovely; its retired village, decayed castle, and simple 
church, all on the banks of two rivers renowned for 
their scenery, form subjects for the poet's dream, or 
the artist's study, inferior to few places on this famed 

Aberedw Castle, though not so utterly razed as the 
others I have lately visited, has but a few dilapidated 
fragments remaining, and the plough has been carried 
into the very heart of these. The site of the castle is 
a scene of wondrous beauty; between, and closely 
overlooking, the junction of the rivers Wye and Edwy, 
it commands a lovely and diversified prospect on all 
sides. The space occupied by the btdldings does not 
appear to have been extensive. Aberedw was a re- 
sidence of the last Llewelyn, probably a hunting-seat ; 
and not few or unthinking are the pilgrims who come 
to trace the spot where, for a few brief days, the 
gallant hero was wont to relax from the fatigues of his 
life-struggle for his country. 

A calm radiant sunset shed its rich subdued light 
over the landscape, tinging the trees on the hill-sides, 
and pouring a dazzling glow of reflected clouds on the 
broad rolling river, which, hastening on along its 


rocky channel^ seemed to my fanciful eye a kind and 
eloquent companion^ murmuring forth stories of her 
mountain home, and singing gladsome lays of Nature's 
majesty and love. So we journeyed together, the 
Wanderer and the Wye, only parting for the night at 
Erwood, where I remained. Let no other wanderer 
follow my example, for I can promise him no one item 
of that precious English sum-total, comfort, in the 
wayside hostel he will find there; but as I am no 
lover of grumbling, I shall avoid the recapitulation of 
my sorrows, and proceed on my next day's journey. 

Opposite Erwood, on the north side of the Wye, is 
Garth Hill, a small eminence, on which remain the 
vestiges of an old British camp. Three miles from 
Erwood appears Llangoed Castle, as it is termed, 
though the plain, comfortable-looking mansion so 
named has nothing in its outward seeming consonant 
to its title. The adjacent groimds are richly wooded, 
and some of the trees remarkably fine. Boughrood 
Castle is another misnamed dwelling of the square 
sash-windowed kind ; but part of the old castle and 
moat may yet be seen below the ford, from which, 
probably, the place derives its name. Near Boughrood 
is a singular horseshoe bend of the river, a curve of 
which runs by Llyswen, now a poor village, formerly, 
as its name (white palace) imports, a royal residence of 
the South Wales princes, and the scene of stately 
festivities in days of yore. At Glasbury the Wye is 
spanned by a rude, singular bridge, partly consisting 
of stone, and partly of wood, giving a very picturesque 
appearance to the village- like town ; above which, on a 
lawny hill, stands Maeslough Castle. Verily, castles 

HAT. 93 

aboand here^ and this is an imposing-looking edifice^ 
adorned with turrets^ towers^ and terraces^ sarrounded 
by ornamental grounds^ and so placed as to form a 
chief object in the landscape for several miles. 

The town of Hay is pleasantly situated on the rising 
bank of the Wye^ and, from the vestiges of a Roman 
camp near the church, appears to have been of ancient 
origin. The manor of Hay was given by Bernard 
Newmarch to Sir Philip Walwyn, who probably built 
the castle, of which little remains but a gateway, a 
dwelling-house having been erected out of the ruin's 




O what A goodly 8oeii« !— hero the bleak mount. 
The hare bleak mountain epeckled thin with sheep; — 
Grey douda, that ehadowing spot the snnny fields ; 
And river, now with bushy rocks o*er-browed. 
Now winding bright and full, with nakM banks ; 
And seats, and lawns, the abbey and the wood. 
And oots, and hamlets, and faint city-spire ; 

— God methought 

Had built him here a temple I 

No wish profaned my 0TerwheIm6d heart. 

Blest hour f It was a luzuiy — to be 1 — CoLKBlDOi. 

The little town of Hay is written down in the 
Norman records as Le Hay, and is now almost uni- 
formly called The Hay. Its early history is involved 
in some obscurity; but Leland says, that ''Roman 
coignes have bene ofte founde theare, wherby it is 
likelye to have bene somwhat of price in the dayes of 
the auncient Brytons.^' Its castle was destroyed by 
Henry II., with many others, during the time of the 
rebellion raised by his undutiful children, to chastise, 
as old Lambarde writes, ''the insolende of his sone, 
and such as egged him forwarde, bycause he founde 
that the opinion reposed on the strengthe of theise 


castles had incooraged their maisters/' It was after- 
wards restored^ and came into the possession of 
Humphrey Bohan, earl of Hereford, and on several 
occasions changed masters, till it was finally destroyed 
by Owen Glyndwr. 

The celebrated Fair Rosamond, daughter of Walter 
de Clifford, a baron of Herefordshire, was bom in this 
castle. Her story is well known. HoUinshead, speak- 
ing of Henry II.'s incontinence, says, ''But most of 
all he delited in the companie of a pleasant damosell 
whom he 'cleped the rose of the world ; the common 
people named her Rosamond, for her passing beautie, 
propemesse of person, and pleasant wit, with other 
amyable qualities, being verily a rare and peerlesse 
peece in those days. He made for her an house at 
Woodstock, in Oxfordshire, like to a laberinth, that is 
to mean, wrought like a knot in a garden, called a 
maze, with such turnings and windings in and out, 
that no creature might find her, nor come to her, save 
he were instructed of the king, or such as were secret 
with him in that matter. But the common report of 
the people is, that the queene finally found hir out by 
a silke thread, which the king had drawne foorth of 
hir chamber with his foote, and dealte with hir in such 
sharpe and cruelle wise, that she lyved not long after. 
She was buried in the Nunrie of Godstow, beside 
Oxford, with these verses upon hir tumbe : — 

" ' Hie jacet in tumbA Rosa mundi, non Rosa munda, 
Non redolet sed olet, quae redolere solet.' "^ 

* Qnaen Eleanor might have been a little more oompasdonate to this 
frail " row of the world," leeing that her own character wae not immac 


The renowned George Clifford, third earl of Cum- 
berland, and a great favourite with Queen Elizabeth, 
appears to have been one of the most ''illustrious'* 
members of the Clifford family. An anecdote related 
of his daughter, the Lady Anne, who was successively 
married to Richard earl of Dorset, and to Philip earl 
of Pembroke and Montgomery, deserves mention here. 
The countess seems to have bated nothing of the family 
spirit on the score of feminine gentleness. Sir Joseph 
Williamson, when secretary of state to Charles II., 
wrote to the countess, wishing to name a candidate to 
her for the borough of Appleby : he received the fol- 
lowing reply : — 

" I have been bullied by an nanrper^I have been neglected by a 
conrt — but I will not be dictated to by a subject. — Your man ahan^t 

"Anke Dobsbt, Pembboks and MONTOOmBT." 

Of this pithy and laconic letter-writer Dr. Donne re- 
marked, that " in her younger years she knew well how 
to discourse of all things, from predestination to slea- 
silk j" and if the decision and terseness of her conver- 
sation equalled that of her writing, I, for one, could 
wish "AnneDorsef alive again, that I might hear 
her talk — for a brief space. 

Clifford Castle, from our description of which we 
have been beguiled by the thoughts of ladies fair, is 
seated on a high knoll, overlooking the Wye, and 

culate ; at least if we may believe her confession in the old ballad, 
beginning with — 

"Queen Elianor was a sicke woman, 
And afraid that she should dye ; 
Then she sente for two fryars of France, 
To speke with her speedilye." 

P -^ 


appears to have held a good and commanding position 
in times of danger. The ruins are draped with ivy, 
and surrounded by graceful trees ; the neighbouring 
country is also richly wooded. 

I have advanced so gradually from the sterner fea- 
tures of the Wye banks amid rocks and cloud-capped 
mountains, that the change of character in the scenery, 
though impressed on my own mind, has not, perhaps, 
been made sufficiently evident to the kind listeners of 
my home travels ; they must bear in mind, if they 
please, that our queenly river has three distinct phases, 
if I may use the term. In her outset, sportive and 
frolicsome, gay as a maiden 'mid her native hills, she 
comes dancing and singing along, leaping merrily over 
the rocks that intennipt her course, and even when 
older grown, not forgetting her wild youthful antics. 
Prom Plinlimmon to Aberedw the scenery through which 
we follow her course is wild, rocky, picturesque, and 
sublime : — ^below Aberedw, the Wye grows somewhat 
more staid in her demeanour; and the surrounding 
scenes become more rich and luxuriant than startling 
or grand — they are more English. She goes on in a 
calm, maidenly mood, " girt with beauty ;*' and, until 
we pass Ross, no material change appears in the cul- 
tivated, rich, happy-looking valleys, whose bright fields 
laugh in the summer sunshine, nor fear its drought, 
while their noble river rolls her full tide along. Her 
third character commences at Goodrich, and from 
thence to her union with the Severn all is richly, har- 
moniously grand — one series of glorious pictures out- 
spread on either side the majestic stream. 

At Rhydspence, about a mile from CliflFord, the Wye 



quits the borders of Radnorshire^ and taming eastward^ 
enriches the county of Hereford^ one of the garden- 
plots of our dear England. Small lovely villages are 
scattered along at intervals^ Mrith fine old gabled houses^ 
wreathed with vines and roses from porch to roof-tree^ 
mingled with jasmine clinging round 

" The maasiTe mallioned windows, and the stacks 
Of qtudnt, &Dt44Btic chimneys, that o'ertop 
The pointed roof with ever-TarjiDg store 
Of twisted, carved, and loxenge-shaped device. " 

Hollyhocks, those high and graceful flowers, adorn the 
box-edged borders of the little crammed parterre before 
the windows, and, leaning over the crazy moss-grown 
palings in front, look abroad with a generous, frank, 
good-humoured glance for the passer-by, and a smile of 
kindly recognition to wonted guests. 

Such gables and gardens the wanderer by the Wye- 
side from Hay to Hereford, will ofttimes pass, in his 
progress through Witney, Winforton, Willersley, Let- 
ton, Bradwardine, &c., interspersed with meadow scenes. 
Between Letton and Staunton-on-Wye is Brobury Scar, 
a cliff rising from the river's northern bank, and agree- 
ably breaking the even, rich luxuriance of the scenery 
around. Moccas Court,* with its fair grounds and 
park-lands, lies on the southern bank ; it was anciently 
called Moches, and was a part of the possessions of 
St. Guthlach, the holy father, we opine, the inventor of 

* Moccas Park contains some of the finest oaks in the oonnty of 
Hereford, and also a profusion of rich hawthorns. On the summit of 
the hill above the park, is the Draidical remain called Arthur's Stone. 
It is a cromlech, consisting of one long and wide stone resting on short 


the whip 80 celebrated for the virtue of its flagellations. 
The old house stood below the site of the present, 
which is a modem structure^ and was in part built 
from the ruins of Bradwardine Castle^ now demolished, 
but in days of yore the family seat of Thomas Brad- 
wardine, archbishop of Canterbury, in the reign of 
Edward III., and for his deep learning named Doctor 
Profundus. From Moccas Park, crossing the brow of 
the intervening hill, we are tempted to descend into 
the far-famed Golden Yale, whose luxuriant vegetation, 
and gay, yellow vernal flowers well deserve such a fairy- 
tale name. 

Journeying on, we come in sight of Kenchester, the 
supposed Ariconium of antiquity, said to have been 
destroyed by an earthquake. The Roman encampment 
of Magna Castra is immediately adjacent, and various 
remains telling of former occupants, consisting of 
Boman bricks, coins, &c., have been found on the spot. 
In 1669, a large paved vault, with some tables of plaster, 
were discovered in a wood not far distant, and the fol- 
lowing year a bath was found, with the brick flues 
entire. A short distance south-east of Kenchester, is 
a spot called the Camp Field, and on the south bank of 
the river lies Eaton Camp: both these places have 
apparently been outposts to the chief station at Magna 

Just before entering Hereford, at an angle of the 
road, is a stone cross, called the White Cross; its pre- 
sent height is not more than fifteen feet, the slender 
stages of the shaft having departed with bygone time. 
The remaining portion consists of an hexagonal flight 
of seven steps, and the first and only existing stage 

H 2 

100 HEREFOaD. 

of the fihafl^ which is also hexagonal^ adorned with 
columns^ and niches containing shields bearing a lion 
rampant. Tradition relates that this cross was erected 
about the year 1345, by Dr. Lewis Charlton, bishop of 
Hereford, in memory of the time when, in consequence 
of an infectious plague raging in the city, the markets 
were held on this spot. 

The city of Hereford disappointed my expectations, 
as all cities and towns do, when I enter their pent-up 
streets from the pure, free, blessed country, "and 
therefore, little shall I grace the cause,^^ though I do 
speak its praise. My kind and courteous readers ! — 
You are listening to a Wanderer's story, and must e'en 
be content with descriptions of such things as suited 
my fancy to observe, bearing in mind, that I attempt 
not an inventory of all that may be seen, but only 
record what I myself did see. The morning after my 
arrival being wet and stormy, I visited the cathedral, 
and accompanied as I was, by an intelligent companion, 
whose love for the antiquities which surrounded us made 
him a right eloquent elucidator of their mystery and 
beauty, my wet morning proved a most pleasant one. 
The exterior of the cathedral, though made up by 
places of somewhat incongruous materials, is grand 
and impressive, sombre, aged, and darkly venerable; 
and as we gaze on its dusky features, they seem to tell 
a tale of days that are fled, and we are insensibly led 
into inquiry and recollection of its origin and existence. 
According to some ancient authorities, this city (for- 
merly called by the Britons Trefawith, Hfinwith, and 
HSn-fordd, from which names the Saxons may have 
formed its present name) possessed a magnificent 








■ ij 










diurch as early as the reign of Offa, and was a flou« 
rishing place, and the seat of a bishop. Its prosperity 
continued under the West Saxon kings, and in or about 
the time of Athelstan, the town was encompassed by 
walls. Leland mentions six noble ports or gates in the 
place; but destruction, under the specious name of 
improvement, has demolished all these. Two, Wide- 
marsh gate and another, existed till 1798. Harold 
founded the castle, of which nothing remains — the site 
forms a pleasant promenade, adorned with trees, on the 
bank of the Wye. 

Return we to the cathedral, whose time-furrowed 
face sent Fancy to question the antiquity of its birth. 
We find that a grand church has existed here from a 
very early period; but we also find that repeated 
destructions of churches successively built on this spot 
have occurred, and that the existing edifice owes its 
origin to Robert de Loxing, or Lozinga, who, being 
made bishop of Hereford by William the Conqueror, 
commenced a church here in 1079, the former struc* 
ture having been burned down in 1055. Lozinga died 
in 1095, but his design was completed by Bishop 
Raynelm, chancellor to the queen of Henry I., who 
held this see till his death, in 1115. The central tower 
was built about a century after, by Bishop Engidius de 
Bruce, and further alterations and additions have been 
constantly in progress, some good, some bad; among 
which latter must be classed those perpetrated in these 
*^march-of-intellect'' times by the enlightened persons 
concerned in such matters. In the first place, they 
have made the hoary old walls glare within ''like a 
whited sepulchre," wherever the greatest curse ever 



bestowed by human inyention on the artist and anti- 
quary can be exhibited — all is whitewashed — ^the mas- 
sive circular arches of the spacious nave are now, and 
even the beautiful oak carving in the choir was, coated 
with the abomination till recently. The altar part of 
the choir is strangely disfigured by being wainscoted 
in the Grecian style, and so making a Corinthian 
column stand side by side with a florid Gothic screen 
or pinnacle. The chapel of Our Lady, now used as 
the library, is a beautiful gem of architectural effect 
and symmetry. The group of lancet-windows, with 
their receding clusters of slender columns and rich 
carving, is, in good sooth, most pleasant to look upon ; 
but the heavy book-shelves and desks in this place, 
with the precious tomes chained to their allotted nooks, 
and making an uncomfortable kind of jail-clatter and 
clang on being disturbed, give a jarring sensation to 
both eyes and ears. Bishop Audley^s chapel, a sort of 
second-story offshoot to the library, and looking down 
into it, is an exquisite little bijou in decorative archi- 
tecture, finely carved and painted, or rather illuminated, 
just like a rich old missal, and separated from the Lady 
chapel by a screen, carved and painted to correspond, 
and adorned with eflSgies of saints. Bishop Stanbury's 
chapel is, to my mind, even more beautiful, because 
less gaudy; but its fairy fretwork and pendent roof, all 
so very exquisite, are darkened by some ill-mannered 
contrivance of our days, and lost, except to the prying 
and admiring eyes of resolute hunters after the beau- 
tiful. The mpnument of old Cantilupe is in a dilapi- 
dated condition, like "many moe/* but some of these 
finger-posts to dead men's memories are wondrously 


quaint and graceful, and fairly wrought; especially 
the canopied tomb of Bishop Acquablanca^ a most 
beautiful specimen of the ornate^ delicate elegance of 
the pointed style. Here, too, is the mutilated tomb of 
Sir Richard Pembruge, who died in 1375. He was 
ancestor of the Lords Chandos, and Knight of the 
Garter, in the time of Edward III. The right leg of 
this knight's stone effigy having been demolished or 
carried off, an artificer was employed to replace it, 
whose knowledge of knightly costume not being equal 
to his accuracy in copying what he saw of it, he has 
invested the new limb with a fac-simile garter, to match 
the honourable badge which graces the sinister leg. 
This effigy is interesting from wearing the old tour- 
nament helmet, so much prized by antiquarians and 
collectors of armour. Numberless other monumental 
reliquefs crowd on my memory while mentioning the 
few I have done, but I must resist the temptation of 
introducing them to my readers: not even the devo- 
tional ladies so demurely kneeling on their marble 
cushions — not the mitred abbots, and bishops without 
number, may be added to my chronicle. But the 
famous old map of the world, I cannot pass in silence. 
How our modem masters of the theodolite must hug 
themselves while contemplating this rich bit of serious 
burlesque ! The map is done on very thick parchment, 
and is, perhaps, four or five feet square, the geogra- 
phical portion being circular, and the comers occupied 
by emblematical devices and figures ; in one part is a 
grotesque representation of his Holiness the Pope, 
commissioning surveyors to make this marvellous chart, 
which represents the Archipelago in the immediate 



vicinity of Londou, mth Paris^ Rome^ Constantinople^ 
&c.^ all contiguous. This curiosity is attributed to the 
time of King John, and is tolerably well preserved, 
most of the names and figures being distinctly visible, 
and some of the illuminated parts quite brilliant. It 
is curious to notice how little progress the science of 
geography made in the early ages. Our neighbours of 
the Low Countries tried their hands upon a map of 
Scotland, more than three centuries after the date of 
this Hereford map, which they somewhat pompously 
announced as " expurgated from all faults/^ in which 
Scotland is put down as an island, and York one of its 
chief cities. 

Great neglect appears in almost every part of Here- 
ford Cathedral, and where repairs or restorations are 
attempted, the very spirit of discord seems to prevail 
with the directors; they crown Saxon pillars with 
Gothic arches, stop up light and elegant arcades by 
cumbrous, dark, dead walls ; shuffle monuments out of 
their places; hide the grandest architectural beauty, 
and the most curious work of ancient art, by bran-new 
painted pews, and pert-looking epitaph-slabs; destroy 
whole chapels to save the cost of repairing them 
(Bishop Egerton to wit), and bestow their malediction 
of whitewash on all things it can spoil. 

One dainty morsel of monastic architecture was 
brought under my observation by the same kind and 
intelligent companion, to whom I owe much of my 
enjoyment in the cathedral antiquities. I allude to the 
ruin of the Pulpit-cross, now standing in a cabbage-and- 
potato garden, which occupies part of the site of the 
ancient monastery of Black Fryars, The cross is hex- 


agonal in form, surrounded by steps, ascending to a 
covered stand or pulpit, in the centre of which is an 
ornamented pedestal of like form, from which springs 
the shaft of the cross, spreading in ramifications on the 
inner part of the roof, and rising from the point above, 
where it is broken off; buttresses support each angle 
of this beautiful remnant ; and ivy, with other creeping 
plants, adorn while they aid in destroying it. The few 
remaining portions of the monastery, now used as 
stabling, &c., form a suitable background to the cross, 
which is a perfect bit of beauty. 

The following morning proved little more favourable 
fjr out-door exploits; I nevertheless resolved to per- 
form my self-assigned task of a visit to Dinedor Hill : 
the very name has enchantment in it,— it sounds like 
something beautiful. Another '^kind and intelligent 
companion '^ charitably bestowed his society on the 
Wanderer, and forth we started, having in the mean time 
determined on ascending Aconbury Hill instead of 
Dinedor — the former commanding all the view seen 
from the latter, and much more; and also possessing 
the merit — great in the eyes of a small antiquary— of 
having a well-defined Roman camp on its summit. Wje 
passed out of town over the bridge, where the Wye 
looks placid and smooth, — the beautiful romping hoiden 
of Plinlimmon tamed down into a quiet douce damoiselle. 

The meadow scenery around was very lovely, and 
full of fine groups of Cuypish-looking cows, standing 
just as a painter would have them, and as if conscious 
how well they looked in the bright green fields. The 
orchards were all beautiful enough to be the gardens of 
the Hesperides, with trees bending under their trea« 

106 CAMP UlLL. 

sures of golden^ russet^ and ruddy fruity hanging in 
luscious clustering wreaths, or heaped in juicy hillocks 
ready for cider*making. After passing the little village 
of Callow, and gaining the ascent beyond, the view 
opens grandly, and you push on eagerly anticipating 
the treat to come. A narrow footpath leads from the 
high road, through the wood to the Camp Hill ; and a 
lovely path it is ! full of hazel bushes, and ferns, and 
flowers. On reaching the summit of the hill, the in- 
trenchment is seen extending in an irregular oblong 
oval, with the elevated praetorium, and chief divisions 
of the camp, clearly marked, though now covered with 
low underwood. Soon after our arrival on the spot 
whence the view was to be enjoyed, a " fine growing 
shower " came on, and, increasing rapidly in vehemence, 
it '^ downward poured a deluge of disaster.'' I went, 
as a proper traveller should, " to see whatever could be 
seen," and so resolved "to bide the pelting of the 
pitiless storm," in full expectation that it would shortly 
pass over ; so on the hill we remained, without shelter 
of any kind, or any semblance of a tree, save a few 
bushes, and some famous blackberry brambles, which, 
though they offered their best of meat and drink, had 
a marvellous "lack of dry lodgings for travellers." 
Despite the storm, which continued unabated, I, for 
my own part, positively enjoyed myself; for the rain, 
heavy as it was over our heads, did not appear to be 
equally violent all around, and wore the semblance of a 
living silvery veil, occasionally lighted up by a burst of 
watery sunshine, which, resting on the white cottages 
sprinkled about, and on the city of Hereford, lying 
below us at a few miles' distance, made them gleam 


brightly out by turns; and at every shift of the changing 
clouds^ a new picture burst into life and beauty. Here- 
ford lay to the north (look at the view from Dinedor^ 
with the rainbow^ and imagine such a scene realized) ; 
beyond^ to the west, the Wye Valley, towards Hay, 
and the hills of Radnorshire; still west, but more 
southerly, than these, appeared those ever-grand land- 
scape guests, the Skyrrid, Sugarloaf, and Black Moun- 
tains: eastward the Malvern Hills, and the ridges 
about Stoke Edith. The dark clouds overhead cast a 
black shadow on the near hills, while bright sunshine 
lit up river, spire,' town, and tower, in the green 
vales beyond ; and the distant mountains, frowning in 
grandeur, wore their storm-robes of dusky purple, 
veiled in ever-changing silvery mist, now light and 
airy — anon thick and dense, — now smoke, now sub- 
stance, — a dreamy curtain between us and the glory of 
the distant scenes. They who could stand on such a 
spot as this, and gaze around unmoved, must have a 
marvellously small allowance of heart and soul in their 



Who hang with woods yon mountain's sultry brow T 

From the dry rock who bade the waters flow ? 

Not to the skies in useless columns tost. 

Nor in proud falls magnificently lost ; 

But clear and artlesa, pouring through the plain, 

Health to the sick, and solace to the swain. 

Whose causeway parts the vale with shady rows ? 

Whose seats the weary traveller repose T 

Who taught that heav'n-directed spire to rise ? 

The Man of Ross, each lisping babe replies. — PoPX. 

The Wye scenery, between Hereford and Ross, though 
rich and luxuriant, presents so little of novelty or 
historic interest, that I preferred taking the more 
direct land road, which passed through a country of 
garden-like beauty and cultivation, sprinkled with 
lovely cheerful villages and park land, and bounded in 
the distance by the glorious ranges of blue mountains 
I have before alluded to. Beyond Aconbury Hill, the 
road gradually descends, and passes through the village 
of Much Birch, where a very droll old-fashioned garden 
amused me exceedingly, with its infinite variety of 
devices in cut and clipped yew-trees. 

Lovely prospects opened in all directions, and the 
hedge-rows were gaily and beautifully adorned with the 



deep ruddy berries of the hawthorn, and the shining 
acorns gleaming among the rich yellow leaves of the fine 
old oaks, which were particularly grand about Hare^ 
wood, the seat of the Hoskins family, a spot interesting 
as having formed part of the ancient Forest of Hare- 
wood, in wliich Ethelwold, King Edgar's minister, had 
a castle. Here, it is said. Mason fixed the scene for 
his fine drama of Elfrida^ and his description is charac- 
teristic of many similar scenes in this luxuriant neigh- 

" How nobly does this yenerable wood, 
Gilt with the glories of the orient sub, 
Embosom yon &ir mansion ! the soft air 
Salutes me with most cool and temperate breath. 
And, as I tread the flower-besprinkled lawn, 
Sends up a gale of fragrance. I should guess. 
If e*er Content deigned visit mortal clime, 
This was her place of dearest residence." 

Fengethly next appears, exhibiting the same features 
of charming home scenery, and abundance of beautiful 
cattle, the greater part of this district consisting of rich 
pasture land. We next passed the village of Peterstow, 
and then entered Wilton, where the Wye is spanned 
by a handsome bridge, from which a broad terrace-like 
road leads into Boss, only a mile distant. This new 
road has been recently cut beneath the red cliffs, on the 
summit of which, the church and its surrounding elm- 
trees form a conspicuous object in the landscape for 
some miles round. 

Our first thoughts, on entering the town of Boss, 
naturally recur to the memory of John Kyrle, the 
philanthropist of the place. The house in which the 


good man lived was lately used as an inn, but is now a 
private dwelling. Here the poet Coleridge wrote the 
following lines : — 

'' Richer than miser o*er hia countless hoarcb, 
Nohler than kings, or king-polluted lords. 
Here dwelt the Man of Boss ! traveller, hear ! 
Departed merit claims a reverent tear. 
Friend to the friendless, to the sick man health. 
With generous joy he viewed his modest wealth ; 
He heard the widow's heav'n-hreathed prayer of praise ; 
He marked the sheltered orphan's tearful gaze. 
Or, where the sorrow-shrivelled captive lay. 
Poured the bright blaze of Freedom's noontide ray. 
But if, like me, through life's distressful scene. 
Lonely and sad thy pilgrimage hath been. 
And if, thy breast with heart-sick anguish fraught, 
Thou joumeyest onward, tempest-tossed in thought, 
Here cheat thy cares ! in generous vipions melt. 
And dream of goodness thou hast never felt."* 

The church which the good man of Boss frequented^ 
and where he lies interred, is a handsome and vene- 
rable-looking structure, with a lofty spire. The church- 
yard is extensive, and adorned by some particularly 
fine elm-trees, planted by his own hands. I never 
remember having been so much pleased with a church 
and burial-ground as with this ; the gray Gothic archi- 
tecture, the ancient tombs, and the heaved turf, where 
80 many nameless dead are laid at rest, — the grand 
trees, rustling in the wind above, and the glorious pro- 

* John Kyrle was bom at Dymock, in Herefordshire, in 1637, and 
died in 1724. He is described as nearly six feet high, " strong and 
lusty made, jolly and ruddy in the fiMse, with a large noae." His dress 
was a dark-brown suit, a wig, short cut and bushy behind, parted in 
the forehead, with a cravat, the long ends of which hung down after 
the isshion of Charles the Second's time. 

ROSS. Ill 


spect spread out all around^ — it was the very poetry of ; 

earth — ^its beauty and its sadness. 

There is a fanciful^ and^ as it seems^ true story re- 
lated of these elm-trees. It is said that after the death 
of their benevolent planter^ an official and officious 
person committed the cruel sacrilege of cutting down 
some of the good man's favourite trees ;* immediately 
upon which, there sprung up within the church, and 
within the very pew he occupied, three young elm 
shoots, which, with almost superstitious reverence, are 
now preserved and cherished. They overshadow the 
two tall windows in that comer of the church, and form 
a verdant canopy over the wonted seat of the good man. 
It is one of the most strange and beautiful whims of 
Nature I ever knew. The marble bust and monument 
in the chancel, tinged with the passing sunlight through 
gorgeous stained glass, had nothing of interest for me 
compared with this simple, but touching memento. 
The " Man of Ross's Walk*' is at some distance from 
the churchyard, and is approached by a neat gravel 
path across the fields. It occupies a rocky eminence 
parallel with the course of the Wye, and is shaded by 
luxuriant beech, aspen, and other trees. At the 
extremity of the walk is placed a summer-house which 
was once a favourite resort of the inhabitants, but it 
now appears in a deserted and somewhat desolate con- 
dition. Adjoining the churchyard is "The Prospect," 
which commands, as from a promontory, the course of 
the winding Wye and the exquisite scenery around. 

* There are yet standing fonrteen of these magnificent elma|y many 
of which measure nearly twelve feet round the trunk, and in height 
rival the pinnacles of the church tower. 

112 ROSS. 

The grounds have been tastefully laid out and planted 
by the proprietor of the new Boyal Hotel, a beautiful 
building in the Tudor style of architecture, which rises 
gracefully from the declivity on the right. A dispute 
arose about the possession of this delectable spot, which 
the proprietor claimed as private property, but he has 
yielded to the spirited opposition of the townspeople^ 
and it constitutes still the favourite promenade. 

Ross is a pleasant little town ; its varied site and 
chalky streets give it a clean, picturesque, and cheery 
appearance. The house occupied by the ''good man'' 
is on one side of the old weather-beaten town-hall, and 
is now converted into a druggist's shop, over which is 
affixed, as the country people called it, the '' statute" 
of Mr. Kyrle. 

From Ross I made an excursion to May Hill, another 
spot considered by antiquaries as the probable site of 
the ancient Ariconium of Antoninus, which Camden 
fixes at Kenchester, but which Horseley removes to the 
neighbourhood of Ross. It has evidently been an im- 
portant Roman station, and commands a view of an 
immense extent of country, though the extraordinary 
flatness and breadth of its summit hides the middle 
landscape, and only allows the spectator to enjoy the 
distance, and the immediate foreground of gorse, 
heather, and the crowning crest of fir-trees, which are 
visible for many miles round. The Severn, and the 
great plain of Gloucester, form the most interesting 
portion of the panorama, at the extremity of which, 
faintly distinguished from the Cotteswold Hills, rise the 
spires and towers of that city ; and the Malvern HiUs 
on the north-eastj wear a more broken and picturesque 


form than from any other spot whence I have viewed 

A pleasant evening walk from ''mine inn/' below the 
red cliffs at Boss^ and over the Wye bridge^ brought 
me to the small hamlet of Wilton^ and I wandered 
about, seeking a road to the ruins of its old castle, parts 
of which are seen from the river and bridge. Tiddng 
advantage of a stranger's privilege, I accosted a gentle- 
man, whose benevolent countenance augured well for 
my intended queries, and " asked my way" to the castle, 
whither he kindly accompanied me. He led me into a 
private garden, where stands the ruin, consisting of 
scarcely more than the low square wall that surrounds 
it, and a turret, that has been converted into a thatched 
summer-house. On the site of the jealous fortress has 
sprung up a cottage omSe, smiling significantly, with all 
the modem appliances ''thereto belonging." The area 
of the castle serves as garden ground, and flaunting 
dahlias flourish luxuriantly among the strangely-abused 
memories of former days. I could be Quixotic in 
defence of the rights of poor old Wilton Castle — ^not 
that I am a lover of anything of feudal tyranny, dark- 
ness, and oppression of soul and body — that iron vas- 
salage of by-gone days, — Ood forbid ! but I hate to see 
anything abused in its adversity ; and ruins are beau- 
tifdl bits of poetry and morality, — ^they father many a 
delicate fanpy, and tell, eloquently silent, many a stem 
tmth. They do not occupy much of our land-room, 
and surely ought to be allowed that little ungrudgingly, 
without being either pulled down or filled up like the 
one in question. Wilton Castle was the seat of the 
Greys from the time of Edward I. It was afterwards 



alienated to the Chandos family^ and finally it became 
the property of Guy's Hospital. The name of this 
family, in connection with their own worth, will long 
be remembered in the person of one of their descen- 
dants, as the patron of the illustrious poet Spenser, for 
whom he procured a grant from Queen Elizabeth of 
three thousand acres of land in the county of Cork, 
while he was Lord Deputy of Ireland, and Spenser 
enjoyed the office of his secretary. The poet has per- 
petuated his gratitude in the sonnet to Lord Grey 
prefixed to his Fairy Q^een. 

"Most noble lord, the pillar of my life, 
And patron of my Mase*8 pupilage ; 

Through whose lai^ bounty poured on me rife. 
In the 6r8t season of my feeble age, 
I now do live, bound yours by yassalage." 

Betuming to Boss by twilight, I ended my day's 
wanderings; and on the following morning rose with 
the intention of spending some hours at Goodrich, but 
the rain poured down in torrents, and philosophy was 
at zero. At length, by mid-day, a gleam appeared, 
and 1 gladly proceeded to Goodrich Court. I may well 
apply to this mansion the term used regarding Abbots- 
ford; this is, indeed, "a romance in stone and lime.*' 
But the characters of the romances are difierent. In 
Abbotsford is united the castle and the monastery, with 
something of the fanciful, fairy spirit of Border legends. 
At Goodrich Court we dream of Froissart and his chro« 
nicies of arms and chivalry. Sir S. B. Meyrick formed 
the design from a variety of sources, which furnished 
detached portions and different architectural details of 
the period between the first and third Edwards, the 



prevailing style of which he has successfully copied, 
arranging and disposing the whole so as to combine 
characteristic features from actual buildings, in an 
edifice of unique design, and almost perfect harmony, 
and admirably calculated for the reception and display 
of the magnificent collection of ancient armour in the 
possession of its accomplished resident. The extreme 
beauty of the spot on which the Court is erected, being 
" the summit of a bold promontory, with a rich hang- 
ing wood beneath, reaching to the water's edge, and 
backed by copped and other hills, offers a most attrac- 
tive subject for the pencil.'* The splendid plate, which 
will, far better than any written description, convey an 
idea of the reality to my readers, also includes a view 
of the adjoining eminence, on which stand the hoary 
and shattered, but beautiful ruins of the old castle of 

Goodrich Court, in its architectural character, far 
surpasses any of those modern fortress-mansions, which 
the taste of the present day has erected in imitation of 
by-gone times; and where, indeed, any incongruity 
can be observed, it has respect only to its appendages, 
and may be referred to the difference of national con- 
dition in the past and present age, — a state of perma- 
nent peace from one of cruel and desolating war : such 
a scene is not without its use and pleasure too, to those 
who are given to reflection. The perfect picture of a 
feudal fortress standing up in its prawess and strength, 
such as it appeared amidst the grim terrors of a barba- 
rous age, with all the graceful assurances of peace and 
plenty scattered profusely around, is a beautiful and 
thought-creating object. Driving along the smoothjy- 

I 2 


gravelled Wardour's Terrace^ the visitor arrives at the 
principal gatevaj^ which is approached over a draw- 
bridge^ furnished with a portcullis^ and flanked by two 
round towers. The surrounding battlements, turrets, 
loopholes, and machicolations, look bristlingly on the 
defensive; while the small dry moat, laid with velvet 
turf, and the fair flower-beds, judiciously separated by 
what may be regarded as a modified rampart, perfum- 
ing the quiet air around, seem to give a most pleasant 
intimation of the ''palmy days'' into which we of the 
nineteenth century have fiJlen. On the left of the 
entrance is Sussex Tower, the lofty bartizans and spires 
of which are visible from many distant points, also the 
keep and eastern towers. The building consists of two 
courts, the inner and outer, separated from each other 
by the Grand Armoury. The north-west front, which 
is moated, contains the offices, above which are the 
warder's chamber, used as a butler's pantry, the kitchen, 
and housekeeper's room ; and in a line on the north- 
east, the drawing-room, which is in Sussex Tower, the 
breakfast-room, dining-room, library, entrance-hall, 
and the ante-room to the Asiatic armoury, — the Asiatic 
armoury itself being in the Eastern Tower. Parallel 
to this are the Hastilude Chamber, Grand Armoury, 
and Chapel, and parallel to the north-west front are 
the South Sea Room and Banqueting Hall. A proper 
description of the extensive and unrivalled collection 
of armour and antiquities can only be found in the 
able works of the learned proprietor, but I shall briefly 
enumerate a few of the objects which chiefly attracted 
my attention. 
On the door is the splendid bronze knocker and key- 


hole escutcheon^ beautifully designed by Giovanni di 
Bologna^ the former representing the destruction of 
the Philistines by Samson. The Entrance Hall is 
ornamented with stags^ horns of various kinds> ancient . 
weapons and hunting-arms tastefiilly grouped; and the 
fireplace^ of Painswick stone^ is from a beautiful design 
by Mr. Blore. The apartment is divided by an archway^ 
and at the first landing of the staircase^ which leads 
to the prindpai bed-chambers^ is the oriel window, 
superbly fitted up with painted glass, representing the 
figure of Meuric or Meyrick ab Llewelyn of Bodorgan, 
in the island of Anglesey, esquire of the body to King 
Henry VII., with the family arms, crest, and motto. 
The beautiful antique lamp of bronze, which lights the 
staircase, is of Greek art, was dug out of the ruins of 
Herculaneum, and is probably two thousand years old. 
From this hall a sallyport with drawbridge leads to the 
Ladies' Terrace, from which another bridge crosses the 
moat to some steps that form on agreeable descent to 
the flower garden, and thence through a hanging wood 
to the river. To the left of the entrance hall is 
Henry VI.'s Gallery, leading to the library, which 
is fitted up after the fashion adopted in the reign of 
Henry VIII. The beautiful carved oak ceiling and 
frieze in this room were formerly in the Government- 
house at Breda, in Holland. On the table, which is of 
the time of Henry VIIL, are caskets, inkstands, can- 
dlesticks, &c., of the same period, and over the mantle- 
piece the astrolabe of that monarch, with his armorial 
bearings and motto engraved thereon. In one of the 
drawers are two exquisite gems by Holbein, of the 
king, and Ann of Cleves. The Dining BtOOM in its 
external architecture is of Edward II.'s time. The 


ceiling is fonned of cross beams held by open spandrils 
and supported on foliated corbels of Painswick stone. 
The chimney-piece greatly resembles those in Goodrich 
Castle. This room contains a valuable collection of 
paintings^ most of which are landscapes and sea-pieces^ 
by excellent Dutch and English artists^ and which have 
been in Sir SamuePs family for many years. The 
Breakfast Boom carries the visitor many centuries 
forward^ and places him amidst the gorgeous furni- 
ture and flowing patterns of the days of Queen Anne, 
of which the panels on the walls^ the window curtains 
and hangings of the recess, the gilt pier-table, the 
stand in the centre of the room, the looking-glasses. 
Save and Dresden porcelain, and the splendid dock, are 
originals of that age. The Drawing Koom returns to 
the time of the Plantagenets. It is octagonal, and 
groined in the ceiling, with gilt bosses. The oak table 
in the centre is from the only remaining example of 
the kind, which is preseryed in the Chapter-house at 
Salisbury, and the fireplace from that beautiful spe- 
cimen of the close of Edward II.'s reign. Prior Craw- 
den's, at Ely. On the table are a pair of candlesticks 
of copper enamelled, seven hundred years old, and an 
inkstand formed of various pieces of similar work of 
the same age, with four very curious dishes, and some 
interesting ivory caskets. On the recesses in the walls 
are the following paintings, by Mr. John Coke Smith : 
— the legend of St. George and the Dragon; the 
romance of Sir Tristrem ; the tale of the Comptesse 
de Vergi ; and that of the Tournament of the White 

On the right of the entrance hall is the ante-room to 
the Asiatic Armoury, the cornice and dado of which 


are taken from the Alhambra. The spectator now 
stands amongst forms bearing the proportions and 
attitudes of real life^ the first of which is the mounted 
figure of a Luti Pindarrie on his Arabian steed^ from a 
drawing by Captain Grrindley^ who brought the chain 
armour and horse-trapping (aU the head gear being of 
solid silver) to this country. Two glass cases contain 
a variety of arms and armour from different parts of 
Asia. In this apartment too is an elaborate and beau- 
tiful Persian chess-board of ebony, ivory^ and metal 
inlaid. A triple-headed arch in the Eastern style opens 
to the Asiatic Armoury, in which is seen an oriental 
rajah wearing a coat of plate, before whom kneels a horse 
soldier from Delhi, in his long coat of chain armour. 
On each side are figures on horseback, and others 
standing, which exhibit varieties of Indian and Persian 
armour. A glazed recess is appropriated in a similar 
manner to those in the ante-room, and various weapons 
decorate the walls. A valuable series of Hindoo deities 
and several rare Chinese curiosities are arranged in two 
glass cases, one on each side the window. The next in 
order is the South Sea Boom, which is filled with the 
rude weapons, feathered cloaks, &c., of the Pacific 
Ocean. The visitor quits this apartment for another 
portion of Henby VI.'s Gallery, the whole length of 
which is 106 feet. In the window is an admirable 
specimen of German painted glass, representing St. 
George in fluted armour, with the date 1517. On the 
right hand is a niche, in which stands a figure accoutred 
in, probably, the most magnificent suit in existence. 
This armour was made for the duke of Ferrara, to 
whom Tasso addressed his ''Jerusalem Delivered," 
and is beautifully embossed with bas-reliefis and iulaid 


irith gold. In 1814 it was destined to adorn Bona* 
parte's imperial retreat of Malmaison, haying been 
actually packed in satin and put into a case for the 
purpose of being forwarded to him. Before^ however, 
it was despatched, the emperor had ceased to reign, and 
the armour remained atModena, until it was purchased 
for Sir Samuel Meyrick. 

Ample folding doors opposite this suit open to the 
Banqueting Hall, which is fifty feet in length. Over 
the entrance is the MinstreVs Gallery. On the raised 
floor at the upper end stands a billiard-table, on the 
south-east side of which is an oriel window, command- 
ing a view of Goodrich Castle, the river Wye, and the 
picturesque valley of the Lea Bailey. Near this window 
folding doors open to a covered way that leads to the 
harness-room and stables. The high pitched roof, with 
its pointed arches of oak, resting on corbels of stone, 
the oak floor, panelling, &c., and the chimney-piece 
most elaborately carved in Painswick stone, cannot fail 
to attract the attention of the visitor. The equestrian 
alto-relievo of Aylmer de Valence, who owned the 
castle and the land on which Goodrich Court is built, 
in the time of Edward II., introduced in a trefoil in the 
pediment, is improved from that on his monument in 
Westminster Abbey. The escutcheons of painted glass 
in the windows represent his armorial bearings, and 
those of the preceding owners of Goodrich Castle and 
its demesnes. The walls are embellished with portraits 
by foreign and English artists, and the niches by casts 
of Edward II. and his mother. 

The doors on the right of the billiard-table lead to 
the Hastilude Chamber, in which is the tournament 
armour, so arranged as to give the complete represen- 


tation of a joust, with the lists, royal box, and heralds. 
It at the same time exhibits all the varieties of ''hast- 
ing-harness,'' or toamament armour, from the time of 
Henry YI. to that of Queen Elizabeth inclusiye. The 
next object of attraction is the Grand Armoury, 
eighty-six feet in length, with its oaken roof, floor, and 
gsdlery on three of its sides. In this gallery are ten 
glass cases to contain the more curious and rare speci- 
mens of armour, the contents of two of which, — ^viz., the 
ancient British arms and the consecutive series of guns, 
from the first invention to the firelock, are absolutely 
unique, while the Greek and Roman armour cannot 
fail to be highly interesting.^ Above these glass cases 
are the emblazoned banners of Edward II., his son, 
Roger de Chandos, Gilbert de Turbeville, Roger li 
Strange, Johan de Lacy, Morice de Barkly, Roger de 
Mortymer, Roger de Baskerville, Rychart de Talbote, 
Edmond de Bonn and Henri de Penbrugge, according 
to an ancient roll of arms of the period ; and which 
have been selected from these knights, holding lands in 
the county of Hereford. In the intervening spaces 
eighty-four halberds, from their earliest to their latest 
form, appear in groups. The oaken columns which 
support the gallery are surrounded by weapons of all 
other known kinds, and between them, and also in 
niches, are placed ten suits on horseback, and several 
on foot, from the time of Edward III. to that of James 

* Evei7 Tarieiy of the annour in this house, drawn by Sir S. 
Meyrick, according to scale, accompanied by explanations, vith Tiews 
of the Entrance Hall, Asiatic Armoury, Hastilude Chamber, and 
Grand Artnoury, has been engraved by Mr. Skelton, in bis " Illustra- 
tions of Arms and Armour," from the collections at Goodrich 


11.^ being the most comprehensive and instnictlTe col- 
lection of the kind in the world. 

In this assemblage of curiosities a group of five 
figures represents King Charles I. in an original buff 
jacket and goi^et^ with his armour on the floor of a 
tent^ and his crown and helmet on the table, attended by 
his standard-bearer, an officer of cuirassiers, giving 
direction to one of two pikemen, who, as well as their 
commander, appear in black corslets, and afford ex- 
amples of the large collars and gofered falling ruffs. 
The face and hand of King Charles, which rests on a 
rapier, were painted by H. P. Briggs, B.A., and are 
exquisitely executed, especially the hand, which is a 
perfect marvel. At the other end of the Armoury, 
under the archway, are two beautifully engraved half- 
suits from Florence, of the time of Queen Elizabeth, 
a handsome engraved manefare {rom Italy, and a most 
curious and interesting German saddle of the early part 
of the reign of Henry YI., on which is a minnesinger's 
love sonnet. 

The gallery of the Armoury opens to the Doucean* 
Museum; a most splendid and valuable collection of 
works of art, antiquities, and scientific objects, be- 
queathed to Sir Samuel Meyrick by that eminent anti- 
quary the late Francis Douce, Esq. 

A passage from this armoury leads to the Ante- 

* An ample catalogue has been printed of the contents, in the 
"Gentleman's Magazine," under the heads of paintings, tapestry, 
drawings, engravings, carvings in wood, carvings in ivory, enamels, 
cinque -cento bronzes, coins and medals, caste, miscellaccous antiquities, 
Egyptian antiquities, Greek antiquities, Boman antiquities, Moxican 
Antiquities, Persian antiquities and curiosities, Indian antiquities and 
curiosities, and Chinese antiquities and curiosities. 


Chapki.^ in wMcli are two Welsh monumental inscrip- 
tions of the sixth century. Three steps ascend to the 
chapel^ which is entered through either of two arches 
contained within a large one^ with beautiful mouldings 
and enriched with figures. This is fitted up in the 
Boman Catholic manner^ with altar-piece^ confessional, 
font, and eagle desk. In the upper part of the altar- 
piece are four female saints, carved in oak, in the very 
best style of art, which are of the time of Edward IV., 
and other figures of the same period surmount the 
terminating finials of the whole. In the lower part are 
carvings in alabaster of the times of Edward 11.^ Ed- 
ward III., and Henry VI. The altar itself is covered 
with a crimson velvet doth, on which is worked a 
large Maltese gold cross; and upon it are six large 
candlesticks and various ancient ornaments. Under 
their respective helmets are two banners and a guidon, 
properly emblazoned. 

I must confess that to me a silent and motionless 
eflSgy, clothed in the suit of armour actually worn by 
some hero of ancient days, is a strange and solemn 
thingy at least a creator of solemn and not unprofitable 
thoughts, gazing^ as I do^ on the garb of one whose 
life was past^ and perhaps lost, in mortal struggles with 
his brother man ; whose firm-set limbs and iron sinews 
seemed to defy time and death; who once followed 
with living eagerness the waving banner that led to 
national honour, or, not unfrequently, to the deadly 
strife of private and personal quarrel : — 

"But they who fought are in ft bloody shroud, 
And those which waved are shredless dust ere now." 


It is not only the historical^ but the moral and 
poetical associations which accompany these memories 
of the olden time, that give to such a rich and elabo- 
rate exhibition as this at Goodrich Court, a value and 
importance beyond the mere gratification of literary 
and antiquarian taste ; they make it the text*book from 
which both the mind and the heart draw lessons of 
instruction and deep interest. They serve to stimulate 
and feed what Serjeant Talford denominates ''that 
highest of all human faculties, the great mediatory and 
interfusing power of imagination/' which combines and 
blends the past and the present in one rich and har- 
monious pictm*e. This is truly ''the chamber of 
imagery V* The collection which Sir Samuel Meyrick 
has already made here, though exceedingly rare, 
precious, and more comprehensive than any other, 
must not be considered complete, and, indeed, I have 
reason to know, is not so deemed by the worthy knight, 
but rather as one in progress, which the erudite and 
indefatigable collector intends, by additions, to make 
valuable as a critical standard on the subject.''^ 

I have been tempted to stay longer at this extraor- 
dinary place, and to give a more particular description 
of the marvellous things it contains, than usually com- 
ports with the method of my wanderings; but certainly 
not more than the importance of the objects seemed to 
require, from their intimate connection with the annals 
of human life and action. The rudiments of history 
truly are to be found in the principles and passions of 
mankind ; but the changes which these have wrought 

* This ooUeotioD, I have understood, haa been ralaed at the Buin of 


in the condition of nations^ and in the order of the 
human mind^ are symbolized to us most distinctly by 
those external signs which belong to their various 
stages of advance or resiliency. Of these signs^ pro- 
bably none are so expressive as the fashions of peace, 
or the accoutrements of war. Even attributive words, 
in allusion to natural qualities and accidental associa- 
tions, so common amongst the Welsh and English, and, 
indeed, most other nations, and the soubriquets of 
monarchs and other remarkable persons, belong to this 
species of popular signs, and are indicative of the 
manners of their own times, and of distant eras in 
history. The English reader will be immediately sen- 
sible of this association when, in his researches, he 
meets with the terms Court-mantel and Ctsur de Lion, 
— ^and the ages of Henry II., with the Angevin fashions 
and piebald dresses, the very dandyism of our ancestors, 
which characterized the one, and the military ardoui- 
and daring valour of the crusading age, which belongs 
to the other, will rise visibly before him. 

Of all the changes to which European society has 
been subjected, that of the institution of Chivabry has 
proved the most productive of important results, whether 
considered in its immediate tendency or its remote 
effects. I refer not to that stage of its history in which 
the investiture with the toga, or with arms, existed 
from the time of Tacitus to the termination of the 
Saxon period, which merely marked the attainment of 
a state of manhood by the candidate; but most espe- 
cially to that era when knighthood became a specific 
dignity, claiming peculiar objects, and subjecting its 
members to a course of rigorous discipline; combining 


them together into fellowships^ and binding them ^by 
roles from which they conld not depart without loss of 
fame or life. The institution of Chivalry sprang up 
in the year 1025, when public licentiousness was at its 
height, originating with the clergy, and comprehending 
the nobility of Europe, from the age of twelve years. Its 
first rules were confirmed at the Council of Bonrges, 
and amplified at that of Clermont. The oath, by which 
its members were bound together, was the following : — 
''To defend the Christian religion; faithfully to practise 
the morals of it ; to defend widows, orphans, and the 
weaker sex; not to make war on account of goods and 
effects, but to let such disputes be decided judicially; 
and to keep the truces of Qoi" * 

Such an institution, from the animating qpirit it 
infused into its members, necessarily made way for 
degrees of merit, arising from the performance of heroic 
deeds, and these to correspondent distinctions. The 
inventive genius of man contrived to render these dis- 
tinctions permanent and hereditary by representative 
figures, emblematical devices, and mottoes, conveying 
by these signs images, as it were, of real events, and 
words significant of certain actions or characteristic 
sentiments. From hence arose the science of heraldry, 
with all its materiel of ''armories," banners, and gor- 
geous dresses, displaying ensigns which related to rank, 
tenure, contracts, deeds of arms, dvil feuds, or national 
wars. Heraldry became also a painted language, fur- 
nished with an artistical phraseology of "tinctures," 

* These were the Church's fieasts and their evw, and the space of 
time between Wednesday evening and Monday morning. This rule 
was enforced under the penalty of death, or of abandoning Christendom. 


gvlesj azure, sinople, and sable, and their representative 
lines, points, chequers, stripes, crosses, and figures, 
and these again indented, ingrained, invecked, waved, 
nebuled, or embattled; with the family relationships 
designated by label, crescent, star, martlet, ring, and 
fleur-de-lis, extending from the eldest to the youngest 
son, in their order of seniority, till it finally developed 
itself in an established and well-understood series of 
hierogljrphics — ^the alphabet of the heroic age of 
Christendom, — ^which may be read and interpreted even 
now by the learned antiquary, as he passes through the 
halls in which, it will appear, I have lingered so long 
and satisfactorily, suggestive of the most pregnant 
events, and deeply inscribed with moral and economic 

Of the use of this science, it may be proper to make 
one observation. The very constitution of man leads 
him to aim at eminence, and the various qualities which 
he possesses fit him for it. Heraldry, therefore, in its 
organic character, is but the invention of a series of 
symbols, formed on purpose to designate these inevit- 
able distinctions, and to allure forward to their attain- 
ment. The art of war has given place to the arts of 
peace; and this science, with the peculiar pliancy of 
which it is susceptible, has become subservient to the 
best purposes of society, and an active stimulus to 
merit in all the forms that can adorn or benefit the 
human race. 

The poet Hayley has some excellent lines to express 
this longing after an earthly immortality : — 

"The fond desire to pan the nameless crowd. 
Swept Ifom the earth in dark ObUvioa's dond ; 


Of iranrient life to leave lome little tnoe. 
And win remembnmoe from the rising iftoe ;— 
To cfttch the pnuee that roee from human breath. 
To bind the guerdon paet the power of death ; — 
And man ere long the wondront aeoret found. 
To paint the voic^ and fix the fleeting tound." 

The upper apartments^ which are furnished and de- 
corated in correspondence with the titles they bear^ 
consist of Sir Oelley's Chamber^ Charles I/s Room, 
Charles II/s Gallery, William III/s Boom, the Prince's 
Chamber and Dressing-room, the Greek Boom, are not 
usually shown to the public, nor, indeed, are some of 
the apartments which I have described, but of which I 
was allowed the inspection by the learned and hospitable 
owner of Goodrich Court. 

We must hasten now from the new Court and its 
old treasures, and enter the tenantless halls of the 
Castle, which, seated in its faded but impressive gran- 
deur on an adjoining height, forms a chief object in 
the delightful landscape commanded by the windows 
and grounds of the Court. On a near approach, the 
exterior of Goodrich is less striking than that of many 
other castles, except the gateway, which is eminently 
beautiful, flanked by its ivy-grown towers, and showing 
beneath its arches the lofty window of the opposite 
tower, and through that the distant Court and its 
girdling woods. The construction of this fortified 
entrance is very remarkable. It appears to have been 
one of the additions made to the fortress down to the 
time of Henry YI. — ^the keep, of which I shall speak 
hereafter, having been erected antecedently to the 
Conquest. The entrance, commencing between two 
semicircular towers of unequal dimensions, near the 


y nniif ^ > 

f .U€M,%ZUfJJfTJI, 

fn»>'M V/Ju'VryU Ch«r>FLt-OtT>». P, 

I at U.«ul«i 


east angle, is continued under a dark vaulted passage, 
to an extent of fifty feet. Immediately before this 
entrance, and within the space inclosed by the fosse, 
was a very deep pit, hewn out of the solid rock, 
formerly crossed by a drawbridge, which is now gone, 
but which appears to have exactly fitted, and to have 
closed, when drawn up, the whole front of the gateway 
between the towers. About eleven feet within the 
passage was a massy gate ; this gate and the drawbridge 
were defended on each side by loopholes, and overhead 
by rows of machicolations, for pouring down melted 
lead, scalding water, &c., on the heads of the assailants. 
Six feet and a half beyond this was a portcullis, and 
about seven further, a herse (a kind of portcullis) ; the 
space between these was again protected by loopholes. 
About two feet more inward, was another strong gate; 
and beyond this, on the right, a small door leading to 
a long narrow gallery, formed in the thickness of the 
wall, which was the means of access to the eastern 
tower, and commanded the steep brow of the hill 
towards the north-east. This narrow, dark, winding 
passage I explored under the guidance of the old 
deputy-governor of the castle, and was not a little 
amused by his great anxiety to make me thoroughly 
conversant with his lore, touching the wonders and 
merits of Ooodiich. 



''Down the swift riyer, the fbll-flowing river, 

Oar lighi*fireighted berk glideth on ; 
While in the wavee erer, the tree shadowe qniver— 

Oh ! who can be gloomy t — not one. 
What day is too long, with the merry boat song. 

Bright sunshine and blessed blue sky- 
While meadow flowers young, o'er the sedgy banks flung, 

Kod and laugh as we gaily glide by." 

Early tlie following momingi I entered a boat at 
Boss^ on my way to Monmouth. My " light bark " 
was not much unlike a gondola^ when its tarpauling 
cover was spread over the framework; but, being 
favoured by a radiantly bright morning, I preferred 
sitting under the skeleton, and enjoying the charming 
scenes around me. A table in the centre of the part 
allotted to passengers, and cushioned seats around, 
made this small floating parlour a most commodious 
conveyance. After dropping past Wilton Castle, and 
beneath the bridge, we soon came in sight of Goodrich 
Court and Castle, well worthy their far-known fame. 
Richly wooded hiUs, well sprinkled with white cottages, 
whose thin blue smoke curled softly upward, oft«n rose 


in front. Kerne Bridge being passed^ and its surround- 
ing bosky hills and sun^biny meadows^ Bishop's Wood 
House appeared. The grounds of Courtfield skirt the 
river for some distance^ adding the great charm of their 
magnificent ornamental timber to the landscape. Pass- 
ing the Tillage of Lidbrook^ where a steam tram-road 
from Dean Forest brings coal for embarkation on the 
Wye, I gained a good view of Courtfield House.''^ 
Henry Y. is said to have been nursed in a more ancient 
house on the same site, belonging to the countess of 
Salisbury (ob. 1395), whose supposed monument in the 
neighbouring little church of Welsh Bicknor I landed 
to exaipine. Sir S. B. Meyrick has somewhat shaken 
the faith of the learned as respects- this monument,, 
pronouncing the costume to be of the time of Edward I. 
A winged angel on either side the head havjS been, ab- 
surdly enough, supposed to represent the ypung Henry 
and his fellow-suckling 

Approaching the foot of Coldwell Bocks, a most 
sublime and majestic scene presents itself. These 
grand, and in some places precipitous, limestone cliffs 
are overhung with richly varied tufts of oak and under- 
wood, traversed by deep dells and gulleys. The smooth 
luxuriant hill called Bosemary Topping, beautifully 
contrasts with and enhances the magnificent sternness 
of these wild crags. For a considerable distance they 
present one continued panorama of grandeur and sub- 

* The wteto connected wiih Uus place fonnerly belonged to the 
fkmily of the Yaugheiui, the descendanta of Cradoo Vreich Yraa— 
Cnuloe of the atnmg arm— with whom is aMociated that beauUful 
poetioal tale of " the boy and the mantle^" to be found in "Perey'a 

& 2 

132 DOWARD. 

limity. Arrived at tlie landing-place for the ascent of 
Symond's Yat, I disembarked, and wended my weary 
way to the summit, tlirough a wood abounding in 
curious plants, and gay with a rich profusion of wild 
autumn berries. On attaining the small platform of 
rock crowning the narrow ridge, round which the river 
makes the extraordinary circuit of four miles, a view 
of great grandeur displayed itself, and reclining on the 
turf, telescope in hand, I quietly enjoyed it. The chief 
eminences in Radnor and Brecknockshire, the Malvern 
Hills, Black Mountains, and the immediately near range 
of limestone crags, with the river winding brightly 
beneath, ana distant spires and towers peeping above 
their encircling woods, all lit up in fair sunshine, made 
a grand and interesting picture^ 
A double entrenchment runs across this 

"Tower of rock, that seemB to cry, 
Go round about me^ neighbour Wye.*' 

A few coracles were on the river, with their stiU, 
patient occupants, the salmon fishers, as I passed round 
the peninsular-shaped flat beyond Symond^s Yat, and 
by the diminutive church of Whitcchurch. Large 

* Upon the Little Doward, a hill of peculiarly fine outline, -viewed 
in front, from the Monmouth road, are the interesting remaiuB of a 
Britiah camp. Three circular terraces wind up to the summit. It is 
a valuable relic of British fortification, where Caractacus probably 
posted himself for how otherwise are the adjacent Roman camps on 
the Great Doward and Symond*s Tat to be accounted for t Ostorius 
probably attempted to force him by the Great Doward, but apparently 
did not succeed, and, being compelled to cross the river, encamped at 
gymond's Tat. The inference is drawn from the circumstance of the 
Gauls having taken up a position protected by a river, where even 
Cnsar declined action.»J20v. T, J), Fofbroke, 



masses of rock are here insulated by the river^ which 
vainly chafes and foams among them. The great 
Doward Hill soon rose in. all its grandeur on the right, 
galleried throughout by quarries, and rendered wildly 
beautiful by the misty smoke from its numerous kilns 
and cottages, which are sprinkled all over its fantastic 
heights, wherever a tiny cabin can find room to perch 
itself. The New Weir here received our boat in its 
swelling eddy, and the foaming, roaring water added 
not a little to the interest of the scene. Lofty rocks 
now rise on both sides, robed in infinite varieties of 
wood and shrub of every imaginable tint, showing the 
pale grey of the limestones, contrasted richly by the 
bright red, green, yellow, and brown of the autumn 
foliage. Many portions of the craggy cliflFs have the 
appearance of ruined castles and towers. Three re- 
markable ones are named the three sisters, — ^Ann, 
Mary, and Elizabeth, — right venerable personages. 
King Arthur, that hero of " oldenne tyme,*' has a hall 
and chair named to his honour in this neighbourhood ; 
the latter is a semicircular hollow near the Little 
Doward, on which are the remains of a British camp. 
Here, in a spot called Martin's Pool, the river is said 
to be seventy feet deep. Handsome and tasteful resi- 
dences now frequently appear on the wooded banks, 
among which the Leys, Vaga Cottage, and Newton 
Hall, are the chief. 

The approach to Monmouth is very pleasing, and the 
town occupies a position of great beauty, lying in a 
valley surrounded by hiUs, and nearly encircled by two 
rivers, the Wye and Monnow. The few remains of the 
castle stand upon an eminence to the south of the 


Monnow. A British fortress is said to have existed 
here previously to the Roman Conquest^ and to hare 
been occupied by the Saxons. The castle is supposed 
to have been rebuilt by John^ baron of Monmouth, 
who, in 1257, resigned it to Prince Edward, afterwards 
Edward I. In 1265, Simon, earl of Leicester, besieged 
Gilbert, earl of Gloucester, and levelled the castle with 
the ground. It was, however, rebuilt, and devolved to 
John of Gaunt, whose son, Henry of Bolingbroke, was 
afterwards Henry IV., during whose reign this fortress 
became the birth-place of Henry V., consequently 
sumamed Harry of Monmouth. 

The priory was founded by Withenoc de Monmouth, 
in the reign of Henry I., for Benedictine monks, and 
suppressed at the dissolution. Traces of it are visible 
to the north of St. Mary's Church. Old Lambarde 
says it was " a small monastery, valued in the Records 
at fifty-six poundes by yeare." The Priory-house, 
which is now used as a national school, contains an 
apartment, celebrated as the library of Galfredius 
Arthurius, bishop of St. Asaph, much better known by 
the name of Geoffrey of Monmouth, 

''The chronicler of Briton's kinges» 
From Brute to Arthur's nyne." 

He is supposed to have been educated in this monas- 
tery, and was appointed archdeacon of Monmouth in 
1151; but was shortly afterwards advanced to the 
bishopric of St. Asaph, in the time of Henry II. He 
translated the history of Britain fix>m the ancient 
British language into the Latin, and also the amusing 
prophecies of Merlin from British verse into Latin 


prose. Our great Welsh hero, Owen Qlyndwr, was 
much indebted to these prophetic writings, as they ren- 
dered him essential service, by favouring his high pre- 
tensions to sovereignty. The veracity of Greoflfrey, as 
an historian, has been doubted by many; Camden 
remarks, that his relation of Brutus and his successors 
ought to be totally disregarded; but Fuller speaks 
honourably of his literary labours, and compares him 
to Herodotus. " There is no reason,'' says the learned 
historian of St. Asaph, '' why he should be so bitterly 
inveighed against, concerning the famous history under 
his name, he being no more than the Fldus interpres, 
or translator of it, and making himself in no ways 
accountable for the credit of the story delivered in his 
book, the blame of which, as his apologists allege, 
ought to be laid upon his authors, and not upon him ; 
since upon a late examination, he is found not to have 
invented, or added anything of his own.'' Of his 
character, however, it is said, " that he was all his life- 
time a great courtier, entirely at the king's beck, busy- 
ing himself in the royal party against Thomas h Becket, 
and was employed to absolve Richard de Lucy and 
others from the excommunication of that proud pre- 

Monmouth is one of those clean, pleasant, country 
towns, having within itself the vivacity of intelligent 
and social life, and possessing in its neighbourhood the 
attributes of surpassing natural beauty. Its thorough- 
fares are comparatively spacious, and a great improve- 
ment has been effected lately by the formation of a 
handsome crescent-street, overlooking the river Mon- 
now, with a rich and varied landscape, backed by the 


bold outlines of the Sugar Loaf range of mountains. 
At the east end a noble building has just been com- 
pleted in the Grecian order, as a market-place; con- 
taining underneath an extensive range of abattoirs, 
with every convenience attached to it. To families of 
respectability this town offers many inducements ; it is 
the centre of the Wye scenery, and affords innumerable 
picturesque walks and rides. The prices of provisions 
and necessaries are moderate; river-fish, fruits, and 
vegetables are abundant ; and the climate is rendered 
mild and healthy, by the screen of the surrounding 
hills from prejudicial winds. Angling is a common 
diversion; and, during the season, packs of fox-hounds 
and harriers yield amusement to the sportsman. The 
present trade of Monmouth is principally in timber and 
bark, for which the ample forests in its neighbourhood 
render it peculiarly suitable. The celebrated " Mon- 
mouth caps,'' mentioned by Shakspeare, and described 
by Fuller as " the most warm and profitable coverings 
of men's heads in this island," are no longer the staple 
commodity at this place ; the manufacture, " on the 
occasion of a great plague happeniiig in this town," 
having been removed to Bewdley; but the chapel of 
St. Thomas, an interesting specimen of Saxon architec- 
ture, formerly belonging to the members of the "craft," 
still exists. This edifice is of very ancient date, and 
had stood for a long time in a dilapidated condition, 
but it has recently been repaired and fitted up under 
the direction of Mr. Wyatt of Troy House, in excellent 
keeping with the original building, and possesses two 
fine original specimens of the Saxon arch and doorway. 
The bridge over the Monnow, which was built by 


Edward I.^ in 1272, will attract the inspection of the 
visiter, not only for its own sake, but because there 
stands upon it the remains of one of the ancient gates 
of the town, which is quite an object of antiquarian 
curiosity. Surmounting the Saxon gateway is a room 
which has been sometimes used as a guard-room or a 
magazine, and immediately above the arch are three 
loopholes, which were made by the authorities of the 
place, through which to defend the town, in 1839, from 
the expected visit of the Chartists of Newport. 

The traveller who enters an ancient town like this of 
Monmouth, commences his researches amongst these 
mouldering remains, which carry him back in imagina- 
tion to the dark and bloody ages of the nation^s history, 
over which, it may be, the enterprise of some daring 
spirit has shed a transient and delusive halo. Those 
institutions of benevolence which distinguish the com- 
paratively modern days of England, are passed by as 
common-place things, and scarcely excite an inquiry. 
There is one, however, in this place, over which an air 
of romance is thrown which will go far to rescue it from 
this general neglect. On the south-east side of the 
town stands a row of neat almshouses, which bears a 
tablet in the centre, instructing the stranger's eye that 
it was founded by William Jones, " citizen and haber- 
dasher of London, in 1615.*' The founder was the 
child of poor parents residing in Newland, a neigh- 
bouring parish, and lived at an inn in Monmouth, in 
one of the most menial situations. Such was his 
poverty that he was obliged to leave the town, from his 
inability to pay some trifling debt he had contracted. 
He repaired to London, and engaged as a porter to a 


Hamburgh merchant^ nrhicb place he fulfilled so much 
to the satisfaction of his master^ that he had him 
instructed in the necessary qualifications for a counting- 
house, and successively promoted him to the situation 
of supercargo in one of his vessels, and general manager 
of his business, till he finally resigned the whole of his 
mercantile affairs in his favour. As a merchant on his 
own account he soon rose to great opulence, and became 
a member of the Worshipful Company of Haber- 
dashers. A strange conceit seems to have taken him 
at this time, and he determined upon an expedition to 
his native place in the character of a pauper. Having 
put on his beggarly gabardine, he presented himself 
before the authorities to claim assistance in his new 
character, but was rudely repulsed and referred to Mon- 
mouth as his place of settlement. To Monmouth he 
repaired, and with better success ; for his wants were 
kindly relieved, and he left the place in the same dis- 
guise in which he had entered it. This kindness he never 
forgot, and at his death devised a splendid benefaction, 
for the building of twenty almshouses and the endow- 
ment of a school, which, from the judicious investment 
of the trustees, and the increase in the value of pro- 
perty, will, in process of time, ftimish an establishment 
of the most valuable kind in the kingdom. The good 
man was forgiving in his disposition, and though he 
did not forget the treatment he received in his native 
place, he bequeathed a handsome sum for the same 
purposes in Newland, though not equal in amount, nor 
so successfully managed. 

The Kymin, about a mile and a half from Monmouth, 
is a lofty eminence, rising nearly 700 feet from the bed 


of the Wye, surmounted by a monument in commemo- 
ration of the gallant admirals of the British navy ; and 
the ^'Summer House/' a circular embattled tower 
about thirty feet high, erected by subscription for the 
social parties of Monmouth, before its harmony was 
disturbed by political factions. The summit is spread 
over a beautiful table-land, on which is an avenue 
of pine and other trees, and the foreground forms a 
succession of vignettes of broken rocks and inter- 
mingled foliage. The hill-point slopes gently down 
towards the east and south in corn-fields and pastures, 
and is backed by the dark umbrage of Stanton Meend. 
On the west, the view is extensive and delightful almost 
beyond description, comprehending, in the utmost range 
of vision, the beacons of Brecon, and the distant moun- 
tains of Olamorganshire, and gradually subsiding to the 
wood-crowned hills that spring from the Wye, the 
lovely vale in which beats the heart of Monmouth — 
that heart of many chords, — and the sportive river, 
which holds on its gladsome way, now gently drawn out 
like a shining thread amidst the green meadows, and 
now rushing with a turbulence so unlike its usual placid 
humour between its stony walls, and over those im- 
mense fragments of broken rocks that in vain attempt 
to impede its course. 

The Buckstone — a mile south-east of the Kymin — is 
a famous rocking-stone of the Druids, which may be 
seen distinctly rising from amongst the woods that sur- 
round it. Such stones formed an important feature in 
the ancient Celtic superstitions, and were used in 
divination, the vibration determining the oracle. Their 
sound, when violently pushed, very probably served to 


arouse the coimtry on an enemy's approach ; and the 
passage or path invariably found encircling them, 
intimates the perambulation to have been a sacred 
performance. The situation of the stone near Mon- 
mouth, vfBs evidently chosen because it could be 
conspicuous for miles round. 

Quitting Monmouth, on an excursion to Ragland 
Castle, my way lay over a considerable hill about a mile 
from the town, commanding a most lovely and luxuriant 
landscape. From this eminence, the rich valley in 
which Monmouth is situated, and the beauties of the 
surrounding country, are seen to great advantage. 

The castle lies a short distance from the village of 
Ragland, on an elevated site, and forms the most 
picturesque and beautiful ruin I am anywhere ac- 
quainted with. It may rather be termed a castellated 
mansion than a castle, and is, in many parts, in good 
preservation, much of the elaborate carved stone-work 
remaining as sharp and distinct as when first erected. 
The general view, obtained on entering the gates, is 
truly magnificent. Immediately in front is the grand 
entrance, guarded by three massive towers, their 
summits gracefully adorned with ivy, which hangs in 
thick drapery over the dim Gothic arch, through 
which a glimpse is gained of the decayed splendour of 
the inner court. The citadel, or Yellow Tower, as it 
was called, with its bastions, stands on the left; its 
surrounding moat is adorned by trees and shrubs, 
springing from crevices in the mouldering walls, and 
dipping their branches in the reflecting water below. 
A geometrical staircase leads to the top, where an 
extensive and diversified view may be enjoyed. 


Ragland does not claim so many antiquarian honours 
as some other castles^ not having been erected prior 
to the reign of Henry V. ; many additions were made 
to it in that of Elizabeth^ and also so late as Charles I. 
The fashions of the arches, doors, windows, &c., are 
progressively of the intermediate ages. Its construction 
may be ascribed principally to Sir William ap Thomas, 
and his son, the earl of Pembroke; additions were made 
by the earls of Worcester, and the citadel and outworks 
were probably added by the marquis of Worcester, who 
last resided in this sumptuous mansion. 

During the civil commotions, Charles I. made several 
visits to Ragland Castle, and was entertained with great 
magnificence. At one time the king, being appre- 
hensive lest the stores of the castle should be consumed 
by his suite, empowered the marquis of Worcester to 
exact from the country such provisions as were necessary 
for his remuneration. " I humbly thank your Majesty," 
he answered, ''but my castle would not long stand if 
it leaned upon the country ; I had rather be brought 
to a morsel of bread, than that any morsels of bread 
should be exacted from others." A speech worthy of 
remembrance and appreciation. 

The extreme beauty of parts of this grand edifice no 
pen, and but few pencils, can justly present to those 
who know not the reality.* The Fountain Court (so 

* It may not be amiss here to mention the obligations which the 
proprietors of this work are under to thi^ highly-esteemed artist, and 
fikithfhl delineator of scenery, Mr. David Coz, whose pencil has enriched 
and enhanced the value, not only of this volume, but also of that 
recently published on the Northern part of the Principality. 

The Beaufort Arms^ at Baglaod, is an excellent house. 


called from a foantain of a white hone, long since 
departed) is singularly beautiful ; and the unobtrusive 
and truly good taste which has in some places added 
the loveliness and fragrance of sweet flowers, roses, 
jasmine, &c., among the '' clambering ivy,'' is extremely 
pleasing. The space of ground within the castle walls 
is upwards of four acres. A smoothly-turfed raised 
terrace surrounds the moat ; and stately pageantries of 
olden days seem to revive fix)m their long sleep, and 
airily glide before us while pacing along its quiet 
expanse. The Grand Hall has been cruelly disfigured 
by a recent daubing of the walls to imitate wainscot, 
done in preparation for a great banquet, given a short 
time since by the country gentlemen to Lord Granville 
Somerset, one of their members. To this hall was 
formerly attached a music gallery, and as the earl of 
Worcester was governor of all South Wales, the bards 
had used to assemble here on occasions of state. The 
present silence and solitude of the place is a strange 
contrast to that ecstasy of life and melody that in 
former times rang through it so merrily. 

The parks appertaining to this magnificent domain 
once extended to the distance of four miles. The camp 
of the besieging army, under Sir Thomas Fairfax, 
occupied a ridge of land about half a mile to the 
eastward of the castle, at the back of which were ex- 
tensive fish-ponds, covering a space of twenty acres. 
On the surrender of the castle, the magnificent library 
of the noble proprietor, said to be the finest in Europe, 
was completely destroyed. The apothegms of the 
marquis of Worcester are remarkable both for their wit 
and stem truth. The discouriies which he held with 


the unfortunate Charles, while he sojourned here, were 
singular for their boldness, and remind us of those 
which took place at Denbigh Castle with the same 
prince, when Sir John Salusbury, commonly called 
Blue Stocking, was governor of that fortress. 

Returning to Monmouth, Troy House claims a 
passing notice for the sake of the antiquities it is said 
to contain, — ^viz., the cradle of Henry V., apparently a 
machine of much more recent construction than its 
assigned era ; a suit of armour allotted by tradition to 
the same royal hero in his exploits at Agincourt, and 
a fine carved chimney-piece from Eagland Castle, 
whence, doubtless, the other two antiques have been 
obtained, having belonged to some of the Worcester 
family. An interesting little church at Micheltroy, 
and a curious cross in the pretty churchyard, where 
laurels and other evergreens form a garden among the 
tombs, attracted my attention in passing; but nothing 
worthy of any lengthened description stayed my return 
to Monmouth, which, with its bright river and lovely 
scenery, looked in the distance like Fairy-land. 

Five miles from Monmouth, at the village of 
Treleck, are some interesting Druidical and British 
antiquities, consisting of monumental stones, sacred 
springs, an enormous tumulus, and other remains. 
On the height of Craig y dorth, close by, Owen Glyndwr 
obtained a victory 



O sylvan Wye, thou wanderer through the woodi^ 
How often haa my spirit turned to thee I 

Thy beauteous forms. 

Through a long absence have not been to ma 
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye: 
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din 
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them. 
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet, 
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart ; 
And passing even into my purer mind, 
With tranquil restoration. 


A CALM bright afternoon of autumn found me quietly 
joumeTing from royal Monmouth towards the end of 
my pleasant Wye wanderings; few greater pleasures 
could befall me than the enjoyment of Nature's glories 
so lavishly bestowed around. For a considerable dis- 
tance the scenery maintained the same rich character. 
On the Monmouthshire side of the river^ a mile below 
the town^ is the Church of Penalty situated on the 
steep side of a wooded eminence, at the back of which 
is an extensive common. On this common is a large 
oak-tree, and at its foot a stone seat. When a corpse 
is brought by, on its way to the place of interment, it 


is deposited on this stone^ and the company sing a psalm 
over the body. Psalmody over the corpse signified the 
conquest of the deceased friend over hell, sin, and 
death. Here is an evident continuation of the oak and 
stones of Druidism and Celtic customs, altered into a 
Christian form. It is '^ the song of bards, which rose 
over the dead,'' mentioned in Ossian's death of Cuth- 
uUin ; an accompaniment of the Irish howl, and altered 
by the popes into the trental. 

The road winds for some distance along the side of 
lofty wooded hills, amid whose deep recesses the wood- 
man's axe waa ringing, followed often by the rustling 
and heavy fall of some doomed tree ; while groups of 
women and children, busily engaged in barking the 
fallen timber, sent forth many a peal of merry-cadenced 
laughter. Instead of detailing these beauties of autumn 
in prose, I cannot do better than borrow a description, 
which in its materials will be found the metrical version 
of every one's thoughts in this woodland district. 

" Come now to the forest, for Autumn is there, 

She is painting its millions of leaves. 
With colQurs so varied, so rich, and so rare, 

That the eye scarce her cunning believes : 
She tinges and changes each leaf o'er and o*er, 
Nor flings it to earth till 'twill vary no more. 

" The glorious cedars she ever in vain 

Tries to dress in chameleon hue, 
For they brave all her arts, and the verdure retain 

Of their Spring-time the whole Winter through : 
And the sturdy Scot's fir lifts its dark-crested head 
Unchanged o'er the path where the brown leaves are spread." 

Upi)er and Lower Bedbrook, beyond Penalt, on the 
Gloucestershire side, present, in their busy manufac- 

146 ST. beiavel's castle. 

turing activity, a lively, and, in passing, not an un- 
pleasing contrast to the stillness of the if ide hills and 
woods; large iron and tin works beiog carried on 
there. The small stream which gives the villages their 
name, serves to turn several mills; and the little cot- 
tages mingled with other more pretending structures 
in the village valley, with the woods around, and the 
Hill of Highbury to the south (apparently the site of 
an ancient intrenchment), form an interesting landscape. 
Passing on by Whitebrook, a busy station for paper- 
mills. Pen y Van Hill appears on the right bank, a 
large heathery eminence, with a promontory-like 
summit crowned by a Maypole, around which the 
merry dances and festivities of the olden time are kept 
up by the peasantry in due season, with great spirit. 
Bordering the road, about a mile from where it crosses 
the river, is a tasteful Anglo-Swiss cottage residence, 
called '' The Florence,^' the shooting-seat of the late 
Captain Rooke. 

Crossing the Wye over a handsome iron bridge, cast 
at Merthyr Tydvil, Big's Weir House, the forsaken 
family mansion of Mr. Rooke's forefathers, with its 
gardens and terraces, forms an important and pleasing 
object in the view ; behind which rises the lofty Hud- 
knolls, on whose summit the remains of St. BriavePs 
Castle still exist. The fortress of St. Briavel stands on 
the verge of the forest of Dean ; it was built by the earl 
of Hereford, in the reign of Henry I., and appears to 
have been of considerable magnitude and strength; 
it was formerly the residence of the Lords Warden of 
the marches of England and Wales; and in it there is 
still held an occasional court — a remnant of feudal 

I f- 


Saxon jurispradence. From the summit are rich and 
varied prospects^ including several villages and woods^ the 
bright meandering river, and many distant eminences. 

We now enter the little village of Llandogo, on 
the right of which is a new mansion belonging to 
J. Gough, Esq., of Perry Barr, in StaflTordshire, erected 
in the Tudor style, from a design by Mr. Wyatt, of 
London. It is built of the rich red stone of the hill 
quarry, and occupies a terraced site surrounded by a 
buttressed wall, on the woody side of the Cleddon hill, 
and is itself a beautiful object to the eye of the traveller, 
while it commands, from its bay-windows, the beauties 
of the surrounding sceneiy. Near it is a ravine closely 
embraced by overhanging trees, down which flows the 
cascade of Cleddon Shoots. Presently the Wye becomes 
a tide river, and the former purity of the stream is 
quite sullied and lost. Brookweir or Brockweir, a 
prettily situated and populous little hamlet, lies on the 
left bank, and from the sights and sounds about, I should 
conclude shipbuilding to be the reigning craft of the 
place. Here large trows from Bristol, borne up by the 
tide, transfer their heavy ladings to lighter vessels. 
Brockweir is about nine miles fit)m Monmouth, and 
midway between the town and Chepstow by water. 

Following a short bend of the river round some ver- 
dant meadows, we pass the small straggling village of 
Tintern Parva, at the head of which is the little tower- 
less church, with its two venerable yews, and the ruined 
building of what was once probably the private dwelling 
of the abbot of Tintern; and passing round another 
horse-shoe curve, reach Abbey Tintern, amid whose 
squalid huts and dingy houses the stately ruin of 

L 2 


ita once and even still magnificent Abbey Chnrch rears 
its proud head. 

" How manj hearts have here grown cold. 
That sleep these mouldering stones among I 
How many beads have here been told 1 
How many matins here been snng. 
* 4t * * 

" But here no more soft mnsic floats^ 
Ko holy anthems chanted now ; 
All hushed except the ring-dove's noiM, 
Low munn'ring from yon beachen bough." 

Seated in a picturesque and mountain-girt valley, 
close to the Wye, the position of Tintem Abbey ib every 
vay calculated to render it a grand landscape beauty. 
With eyes bent on the ground, the visitor carefully 
enters the low western door, and then raising his glance 
and gazing around, he is either less easily excited to ad- 
miration, or has more command over himself than I, if 
he can refrain from some demonstration of delight. The 
ruin is two hundred and thirty feet in length, and sixty- 
three in breadth. The transept is one hundred and 
fifty feet long. 

The architecture is scarcely even defaced by time, 
but few columns having fallen; and the loss of these is 
partly hidden, and quite compensated for, by the rich, 
heavy folds of nature's most graceful drapery, luxuriant 
ivy, which adorns the lofty aisles and transepts of this 
majestic edifice, and scarcely suffers us to regret that it 
is a ruin. Small ferns and flowers of many hues spring 
from every ledge and opening, and the massy broken 
walls sustain a tiny forest of ash, and privet, and wild 
intertwining roses, — ^while the fragrant and beautiful 
wall-flower wanders over arch and window, decking 


* jf^ .».:^:i? :X";r . 


them with its fair garb of green and gold^ and crowning 
the decaying pile as with a halo. 

The area of the rain has been rather too neatly 
cleared^ and is smoothly turfed over, with the prostrate 
columns and fragments ranged carefully along. But 
the very smoothness of the ground, however incon- 
sistent, perhaps only renders the grand proportions of 
the "long-drawn aisle" more striking and beautiful. 
Hoofed only by the vault of heaven — paved only with 
the grass of earth, Tintern is probably now more 
impressive and truly beautiful, than when " with storied 
windows richly dight;'* for Nature has claimed her 
share in its adornment, and what painter of glass, or 
weaver of tapestry, may be matched with her? The 
singularly light and elegant eastern window, with its 
one tall muUion ramifying at the top, and leaving the 
large open spaces beneath to admit the distant land- - 
scape of the waving woods of Shorn Cliff, is one chief 
feature in Tintern. The western window is peculiarly 
rich in ornament, and those of the two transepts of 
like character, though less elevated. By the kindness 
of the duke of Beaufort, a strong iron railing is passed 
round the upper walls, so that the visitor may with 
safety traverse the greater part of the transept, at a 
considerable height from the floor. I availed myself of 
his grace's provision, and mounted the winding stair- 
case, tablets in hand, and became sensible how much 
better my eye could measure the magnitude of the 
building from this midway elevation. 1 had no sooner 
ascended this tower than the sentinel crow gave audible 
notice of my intrusion, and the whole ruins became 
vocal with the petulant clamour of the ebony tribe 


against this invasion of their ancient domain. Even 
from the height on which I stood, the strangers below 
appeared little better than pigmies, and the sonorous 
voice of the old cicerone sounded strangely as he told 
to each new comer his wearisome tale. When I had 
finished my aeiial survey, I descended again to the 
floor, and passed in review confessionals and sacristy, 
refectory, kitchens, and dormitoriep> all silent, tenant- 
less, and in ruins. The area of the refectory bears an 
orchard of apple and pear trees, which, in the blossom- 
ing season, must look like the very bitterness of 
mockery upon these deserted halls. The wilderness of 
nettles, creepers,' wild weeds, and old fimtastic trees, 
that crowd the garden, seem as if they had mobbed 
the good fathers out of their paradise, and set up a 
democracy of all ill-looking, irreverend, and venomous 
things. The northern and southern doorways are of a 
different architectural order to the purer Gothic style 
of the rest of the abbey, and bear evidences of the 
transition state from the Saxon to the Norman styles. 

Several mutilated monuments lie among the ardii- 
tectural fragments xm the turf; one represents a knight 
in chain-mail, with crossed legs, as a crusader, or a 
vowee to take the cross : it is ascribed to Gilbert 
Strongbow (a hero often spoken of in these pages), as 
the Abbey Chronicle mentioned his interment here. 
Sir S. B. Meyrick considers the effigy to be that of 
Koger de Bigod. 

"In the year 610, Ceolwulph, king of Wessex, 
attacked the Britons in Glamorganshire. Theodoric, 
or Tewdric, the Welsh Eoitelet of that country, had 
resigned the throne to his son Mamice, and 'led an 




eremitical life among the rocks of Dindym/ H's 
former subjects used to say^ that he had always been 
victorious^ and that as soon as he shewed his face his 
enemies took to flight. They accordingly dragged him 
from the desert against his wil)^ and the royal hermit^ 
once more a general, routed the Saxons at this place. 
In the action he received a mortal wound on the head, 
and desired his body to be buried, and a church to be 
built upon the spot where he should happen to die. 
This place was Mathern, near Chepstow ; and Bishop 
Godwin says that he there saw his remains in a stone 

Tintem Abbey was founded for Cistercian Monks, in 
1131, by Walter de Clare, "for the health of my soul," 
as his charter ran, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. 
This Walter was a descendant of a family to whom 
William the Conqueror gave sundry estates in this 
neighbourhood, together with the privilege of possessing 
all he could wrest from the Welsh. He was succeeded 
by his brother Gilbert, sumamed Strongbow, first earl 
of Pembroke, who confirmed to the monks all the lands, 
possessions, liberties, and immunities granted by his 
predecessors. Afterwards, the male line failing, the 
heiress was married to Hugh Bigod, earl of Norfolk. 
At the time of the dissolution there were only thirteen 
inmates. The abbey and estates were given by Henry 
VIII. to the earl of Worcester, and subsequently 
became the property of the dukes of Beaufort. 

The remnants of the wall which inclosed the abbey 
grounds may yet be seen on one side climbing the hill, 
amidst the green umbrage of the forest, and on the 
other stands the water-gate, with its ruined defences, 



through which the monks issued to cast a dragon-fly on ; 

the streanij and furnish the refectory with the delicious 

'' salmons" of the bountiful Wye. I 

The road gradually ascends beyond Tintem^ to a 
considerable height above the river, embracing grand 
and varied prospects, combining the rugged cliffs of the 
opposite bank, partially adorned by wood ; the broad 
quiet river, speckled with its coracles and salmon-fishers, > 

looking in the distance like walnut-shells set floating 
by fairies; and the grand precipitous rocks, through 
which the road is made, rising abruptly from the 
shadowed path, or fantastically grouped with rich wood 
and waving flowers, stretching towards the blue heaven 
above. But I would pray the reader to pause when he , 

arrives at the point immediately opposite the northern 
aspect of the old ruin, and contemplate for a moment t 

the beautiful doorway, which there presents itself, with 
its pediment surmounted by green branches and white 
elder-flowers, — to glance through the line of arches 
that spring along the transept, — and to watch the 
bright sunshine gleaming through the glorious marigold, 
and glittering amongst the bold projections and rich : 

tracery of its exquisite window. 

I must confess that I was disappointed at the first 
sight of Tintern Abbey. The straggling row of com- 
mon-place buildings that marshalled the road to it, 
and the low miserable cottages that surrounded it» 
served greatly to subdue the enthusiasm in which I 
had indulged on the way; but when I stood upon the ' 

green floor of the venerable ruins, and gazed upon this ^ 

almost perfect example of architectural beauty, I felt 
that I had come within the magic circle of enchant- 


ment, from which I had neither the power nor the wish 
to escape. Nor is it only the magnificence and grace 
of the ruined buildings which attract the eye on all 
sides and fill the mind ; but the memory is unlocked, 
the reading of ancient days is set forth in all its ample 
leaves^ and imagination supplies the august and glow- 
ing pictures that belong to the age of its glory, when 
the high altar blazed with light at the sacrifice of the 
mass, or when the full rich voices of the monks chanted 
the Breviary service, from the early matins and lauds 
to the evening vespers and complins, — when the bright 
summer sun flashed through its painted windows, and 
fell upon the tessellated pavement in a '' glorious path 
of rays,'' for the solemn procession of the holy fathers, 
or gleamed with mild lustre amongst the pointed 
arches, when the solitary brother, in penitence and 
prayer, told his Ave Maria before the image of the 
Blessed Virgin. I felt the devotional sentiment steal 
gently over me, and I stayed not to inquire whether 
sense or faith, whether spiritual perceptions or mere 
imagination, had most to do in csdling it forth : it was 
sufficient for me that it was present to my consciousness, 
transfusing the past, the present, and the future, into 
one mingled stream of rich, grateful feeling. 

" Shadee of past fame, fareweU ! the glooms ye oast 1 
The melancholy pleasures ye have bred ! 
There are, who fibin would fly into the past. 
And where I, bat a weeping pilgrimj tread, 
Ab cowled monks hide for aye the aching head ! " 

About three miles from Tintern, a fanciful little 
habitation, called the " Moss Cottage,'' appears to the 
right of the road, built by the duke of Beaufort, for the 


accommodation cf parties visiting Windcliff^ to the 
Bummit of whicli grand eminence^ several paths lead 
through the rocks and underwood. The most approved 
plan is to ascend by a somewhat circuitous, but easy 
route, nearer St. Arvan's. On gaining the open space, 
one of the most extensive and beautiful views that can 
be imagined bursts upon the eye, or rather, I should 
say, a vast group of views of distinct and opposite 
character here seem to blend and unite in one. At 
a depth of about eight hundred feet, the steep descent 
below presents in some, places single projecting rocks; 
in others, a green bushy precipice. In the valley, the 
eye follows for several miles the course of the Wye, 
which issues from a wooded glen on the left hand, 
curves round a green garden-like peninsula, rising into 
a hill studded with beautiful clumps of trees, then 
forces its foaming way to the right, along a huge wall 
of rock, nearly as high as the point where you stand, 
and at length, beyond Chepstow Castle, which looks 
like a ruined city, empties itself into the Bristol 
Channel, where ocean closes the dim and misty distance. 
On the other side of the river, immediately in front, 
the peaked tops of a long ridge of hills extend nearly 
the whole district which the eye commands. It is 
thickly clothed with wood, out of which a continuous 
wall of rock, festooned with ivy, picturesquely rears its 
head. Over this ridge (Llancaut Cliffs, or Bannagor 
Crags) you again discern water, — ^the Severn five miles 
broad, thronged with white sails, on cither side of which 
ai*e seen blue ridges of hills, full of fertility and 
cultivation. The grouping of the landscape is perfect. 
I know of no picture more beautiful. Inexhaustible in 

PiSBCsnsLD. 155 

details^ of boundless extent^ and yet marked by sach 
grand and prominent features^ that confusion and 
monotony^ the usual defects of a very wide prospect^ 
are comidetely avoided. The descent from WindcliflP to 
the Moss Cottage is easily made by means of steps cut 
in the rock^ amid shrubs and wood of great variety and 
beauty^ and presents the landscape in an unceasing 
diversity of forms. 

Piercefield Park, the marvel of the last and the attrac- 
tion of the present generation, extends nearly from 
Windcliff to Chepstow, and is certainly a beautiful 
example of landscape-gardening ; but to a mind which 
has become familiarized with the grand and simple 
scenes of nature, a ramble through the three-mile walk 
of Piercefield Terrace is far less gratifying than the 
same distance would prove through the wild greenwood, 
or over the breezy hills. Maugre all this, we owe 
much to the taste which has adorned this place, and 
to the liberality which has thrown it open to the public 
for their gratification. 

The attractions of Piercefield arise from the peculiar 
features of nature, forming almost every element in 
pictorial composition, which are assembled on this spot, 
or which belong to its neighbourhood. The park itself 
is comparatively small, not extending over more than 
three hundred acres, in the centre of which is the 
mansion; but the varieties on its surface, and the 
manner in which it gently undulates on one side, and 
on the other descends precipitately into a deep vale, 
*— the thick majestic woods, which encompass some 
portions of it, and the graceful masses that adorn 
others, — ^the single trees that fling their arms on all 


sides in supreme beauty^ — the gentle slopes, the rising 
hills, the stem bald crags, the rolling river giving the 
sweet voice of its waters to the umbrage around, — ^the 
mingling of colours under the first tints of autumn, — 
the sublime, the terrific, and the beautiful, singularly, 
and as it were accidentally, combined, give to Fierce- 
field a charm, which makes it the Hafod or the Elan of 
Monmouthshire. The hand of taste has been here too, 
not in its crudities and patchwork, but in its enchanting 
disclosures of the natural beauties and sublime originals 
of the place, in its graceful combinations, and in its 
captivating allurements of shades and openings, and 
winning promises of fresh delights to the onward 
visitor. The kindly feeling of the proprietor is obvious 
in the provision he has made of walks and ascents for 
the most comprehensive views, of resting-places for the 
foot of the traveller, of grottos scooped from the 
rocks, and of flower-embroidered alcoves, where the 
wood's minstrelsy may be most enjoyed, and in the 
labour he has employed to afford engagement to the 
memory and the fancy, while the senses have been thus 
regaled, — and all this surrounded, as it is, by the wild 
and untameable in nature, by gibbous and craggy 
rocks, precipices, magnificent mountains, the boundless 
forest, and tracks of heath and moorland. 

The proprietor to whom Piercefield owes its improve- 
ment, and the public their enjoyment, was Mr.Valentine 
Morris. His history is short and melancholy. In the 
course of the American war he was appointed governor 
of the island of St. Vincent, where he expended a large 
sum from his own private fortune in its fortifications. 
Upon its fall, the minister of the day disavowed 


his claim for compensation. His creditors became 
clamorous, and he was cast into the King's Bench 
prison, where he languished for twelve years. He was 
released from his confinement, broken in health and 
spirits, suffering most of all from the domestic calamity 
which his fallen fortunes had produced, in the insanity 
of his wife, and shortly after he died at the house of a 
relative in London. He was a generous and benevolent 
man, as the poor of his neighbourhood could well 
testify. On his departure for the West Indies, they 
came in troops to bid him a tearful ferewell, and the 
muf9ed bells of the neighbouring church rang a funeral 
knell as he left the home of his love, and the scenes 
which he had embellished both by his taste and his life. 

From Llancaut Crags, on the opposite bank, a view 
is gained little inferior to the one at Windcliff ; indeed, 
the difficulty would be to find a spot in this picture-like 
neighbourhood whence some grand or picturesque pro- 
spect could not be enjoyed; and numerous delightfully 
situated residences prove how well the surrounding 
beauties are appreciated. 

On approaching Chepstow, the main point of attrac- 
tion is its ancient castle, a grand ruin crowning the 
whole length of a projecting rock, near which a hand- 
some iron bridge spans the now busy river. According 
to Lambarde, the Saxons named this place Chepstow, 
'* which is,'' as the chronicler writes, '^ no more to say 
but a market, bycause it lay comodiouslye to bringe 
thinges unto, and vented theim abrode wheare nede 
was, at it yet dothe.'' Under the name of Estbrighoel 
or Striguil, the castle is mentioned in Domesday Book; 
and is said to have been built by William Fitsosbom^ 


earl of Hereford^ killed in 1070, who erected it out of 
the ruins of the ancient Caerwent, or Venta SUurum. 
The remains show that the old castle was nearly all 
taken down, and rebuilt in the thirteenth century. 
The duke of Beaufort holds it by descent from the 

Castles were built according to the form of the ground; 
that at Caerlaverock being a triangle ; and Chepstow 
is a parallelogram, standing on a high rock, and con- 
sists of successive courts flanked on the land side by an 
immense ditch and town walls, and on the other side 
by the Wye. The entrance is by a gateway with 
round towers : between these are machicolations. The 
ancient gates remain, and consist of planks covered 
with iron plates laid upon a strong lattice, and fitstened 
by iron bolts. Within one door is the original wicket, 
about three feet high, and only eighteen inches wide ; 
requiring no small care to enter its narrow aperture, 
and climb over its high step without personal detriment. 

Passing under the portcullis-arch, the first court is 
entered, in which the domestic offices were situated ; 
and a tower at the south-east extremity is pointed out 
as the one in which Henry Marten, one of the judges 
of Charles I., passed, for the most part of twenty years, 
a dreary imprisonment, and where he ended his life.*^ 
This tower was the keep or citadel. The exterior wall 

* Henry Morten was the son of Sir Henry Marten, a celebrated 
judge in the time of Jamea I. He ia deioribed ai a man of gre&t 
intoUigenoe and exqutaite wit, but of licentious manners. He is said 
to have died as he lived, "with the fierce spirit of a republican." Ho 
wrote his own epitaph in the form of an acrostic, which is placed over 
his grave, in tbe north transept of the church, containing sentiments 
better suited to a •oepticthan a Puritan preacher, as he at one time waib 






> He. 



is mucli more ancient than the one facing the court, 
and the interior appears to have contained commodious 
apartments^ with spacious fireplaces, &c. From this 
tower a line of communication, or ten*aced walk, runs 
inside the outer wall along the whole buildiug, ascend- 
ing by steps from tower to tower. In the old Norman 
keep this gallery used in like manner to run under 
arches round the whole inside. This being a thirteenth- 
century castle, where the defence consisted of numerous 
towers (it is said to have contained sixteen)^ the line of 
communication was altered accordingly. 

The most lofty and interesting portion of Chepstow 
Castle is now called the chapel; but in castles the 
chapel was not usually the most striking object ; and as 
this beautifiil remain has apartments above, there is 
every reason to think that the lower part was not a 
chapel, but the grand hall, especially as an oriel window, 
in the style of the thirteenth century, and remarkably 
rich in its architectural decorations, still exists to con- 
firm the supposition. A terrace and wall, on the very 
edge of the cliff, rendered this part impervious to mis- 
sile weapons. Within the hall a range of niches are 
seen, usual in Norman keeps, and called, by presump- 
tion, seats for the guard or attendants.* 

I next explored a damp and gloomy subterranean 
vault, with a groined roof and an aperture for the ad- 
mission of the few rays of light that struggle through 

* A prieatly legend wis gWen to the people, wUch inretted this 
obapel with the oharaoter of extraordinary aanctity. It was related to 
haye been erected by Longinni, a Jew, and father of the toldier who 
pierced the mde of Christ. For some offence he was condemned to seek 
the shores of Britain, and erect a religions edifice on the river Wye. 



the overhanging and entangled ivy and brushwood of 
the rock in which this dismal apartment is formed ; on 
peering through the openings the Wye is seen at a great 
depth below, rolling heavily along; and the head grows 
dizzy with gazing from the murky dungeon down the 
terrific precipice. If this were the prison, surely a 
brief sojourn in it ought to expiate even a weighty 
error. I looked at the ponderous rings in the rocky 
wall, and thought of the " Prisoner of Chillon,'* and 
then eagerly-bounded up the foot*wom stair into light 
and liberty — heartily thankful that the years were for 
ever gone by, when feudal tyranny could incarcerate its 
wretched victims in such cruel durance. 

This fortress seems to have been built by Roger de 
Bigod, about the same time as Tintem Abbey church. 
It underwent some partial alterations in the end of the 
fifteenth century, probably by William Herbert, earl of 
Pembroke, who was deeply engaged in the wars of 
York and Lancaster. The town was very strongly 
fortified, and the remains of its defences are still con- 
siderable. Leland, that veracious antiquary, thus de- 
scribes it in his time : — ** The towne of Chepstowe hath 
bene very stoutly waulled, as yet doth appere. The 
waulles began at the ende of the great bridge over 
Wye, and so came to the castle, the which yet standeth 
fayr and strong.'^ 

Several monastic and ecclesiastical remains may be 
found in the neighbourhood. The town occupies a 
pleasing situation, being built on a hill gradually 
ascending from the river, amid scenery of the grandest 
description, but contains few buildings worthy of notice 
except the castle. A cell of the foreign abbey of Cor- 


neille existed liere as early as the reign of Stephen. 
On the north side of the chapel of this priory are 
Koman hricks. The present parish church includes 
most of its remains^ and forms a curious specimen of 
Norman architecture, particularly the western entrance. 
The old gate is an interesting piece of antiquity, but 
much injured by time. 

The bridge over the Wye is substantial and elegant, 
consisting of five iron arches resting on stone piers. 
It is five hundred and thirty-two feet long; the centre 
arch is one hundred and ten feet, and the other two, on 
each side of it, seventy and fifty-four feet each in span. 
It has been remarked, that the tide rises higher here 
than in any other place in the kingdom — from fifty to 
sixty feet. The reason assigned is, that the rocks of 
Beachley and Aust, which project into the Severn im- 
mediately above the Wye, cause such an extraordinaiy 
swell that the stream is impelled up this river. 

At Chepstow I went on board a steam-vessel for 
Bristol, with the intention of taking the packet from 
thence to Tenby the following morning. Proceeding 
steadily down the Wye, it was observable that the fair 
and clear mountain-stream had changed to a broad and 
stately river. Picturesque cliffs flank her course on the 
left, displaying a curiously-varied stratification, and 
crowned with overhanging wood. On the right, the 
gradually-rising ground soon exhibited the remains of 
the ancient town wall, or, as it is now called, the Port 
Wall, fortified by numerous round towers, on an appa- 
rently artificial elevation. Gliding smoothly on, in the 
golden light of an sCutumn afternoon (for my wander-* 
ings had now extended from spring to the first month 




of that rich season of the year), I soon found the river 
widening rapidly, and recognising Aust cliffs, and the 
little ruined shrine of St. Tecla, on its island rock, I 
knew that the Wye here mingled her waves with those 
of her sister stream, the Severn. 

I might finish my Wye explorations very fitly in the 
words of Mr. Gray: — ''The very principal light and 
capital feature of my journey was the river Wye, which 
I descended in a boat for nearly forty miles, from Boss 
to Chepstow. Its banks are a succession of nameless 




Old Ocean ! how I love tby roar ; it aeeina 

To xny attentive ear as though it sung 

Of ancient days, and had grown hoarse with age. 

The jargon of old Babel wanderers has been 

Beside thy waters. Thou hast caught the sound, 

And speak'st all languages. In tby soft calm voice, 

The whtsp'ring music from Idalian groves 

Comes richly fraught with perfumed melody. 

That earnest si^h, drawn from thy depths and caveSi 

Is vocal with the tale of wrecks, — as sad 

As the last breath of gasping, drowning men. 

Or stranded mariner, from some desert isle. 

Sending his eoul homeward. Thy stormy voice 

Gathers the shout of hosts and multitudes 

That erst have thronged thy shores. Thy rolling waves 

Are a deep trackless path to distant lands ; 

And east and west, and north and south, are joined 

By thee in fellowship, as one great family. 

The Old Babd. 

The county of Pembroke pushes boldly forward in 
the form of a broad rugged promontory, on its western 
and northern sides, into the wide world of waters, 
touching easterly the counties of Cardigan and Car- 
marthen. The reader who has followed me from the 
pictured valleys and wood-crowned hills of the beautiful 
Wye^ which the hand of man has so profusely deco- 

M 2 

164 TENBY. 

ratedj ml\ find himself saddenly transported to a region 
of barrier rocks, standing like the Pillars of Hercules, 
M'ith their bases lashed for ages by the storm-driven 
waves of the ocean. 

At the south extremity of a small bay, offering an 
excellent roadstead for vessels, and situated some ten 
miles from the county town, stands the well-known 
watering-place of Tenby, " the boast of Pembrokeshire." 
Almost unrivalled for the beauty of its situation and 
the extent of its marine prospects, the town '^peninsu- 
lateth,'' as Leland says, upon a bold but irregular pile 
of cliffs, rising above the sea — Caldy Island breaking 
the violence of the waves from the Atlantic Ocean. 
The far-extending view from the Castle Hill, looking 
easterly, embracing the whole of Carmarthen Bay, is 
carried forward to the Ooskar Rock, and below it to 
what are termed the Norton Sands. Passing over nu- 
merous bays and promontories, the Monkstone Point 
next is seen ; and then, again receding, the coast forms 
the bay of Sandisfoot. The summit of Amroth Castle, 
the waters of Llaughame Bay, the mouth of the Towey, 
the pinnacles of Kidwelly Castle, and part of the town, 
arc within range of the eye ; and afar off the broad 
promontory of Gowerland, and the towering rock called 
the Wormshead, in the Bristol Channel, stretch away 
to the extreme point of vision. 

Scarcely less magnificent the prospect opens towards 
the south, exliibiting St. Catharine's Rock, on which 
are the ruins of an antiquated building; Caldy Island, 
and that of St. Catharine, with the Bristol Channel; 
and occasionally, on fine days, parts of the Somersetshire 
coast. Giltar Point terminates the prospect to the west. 

TENBY. 165 

Although the architectural remains of the district are 
numerous^ and convey to the traveller some idea of 
their ancient extent^ but little is left entire of the old 
castle of Tenby; a single tower and some dilapidated 
walls being the only evidences of its former splendour. 
These ruins present a singular contrast to the neat 
pretty walks and seats formed on the surrounding rock 
for the accommodation of visitors, from which the ex- 
pansive sea is beheld to great advantage, studded with 
fishing-boats and ships. Here strangers and residents 
hasten to watch the arrival and departure of steam- 
boats and other vessels. The church stands on an 
elevated part, nearly in the centre of the town, and 
is an ancient structure, with modem additions and im- 
provements. The interior is rich in sepulchral sculp- 
ture, and other monumental records; amongst which 
is one in the north aisle to John Moore, of Moorhayes, 
Devon, who died for love : — 

" He that from home for love was hither brought, 
Ifl now brought home; thus Grod for him has wrought.*' 

A pilgrimage would doubtless be made to this tomb by 
all consumptive maidens, but for this droll circumstance, 
that he was the father of a large family — six sons and 
ten daughters, — ^which he had by his first wife, and he 
died here while in search of a second. The church has 
a tower and spire, esteemed the highest in Wales, which 
proves a useful landmark to the far-oflf mariner. From 
the hotel windows, when the weather is unpropitious, 
and the white-winged heralds of the storm hover in 
sights or utter their warning cry, the visitor can still 


console himself with contemplating the wide expanse 
of waters^ now full of *' sound and fury/' raising their 
angry crests, and exhibiting the varying phases of the 
mighty ocean. 

Nearly south-west of the town rise those wild masses 
of rock forming the island of St. Catharine, and more 
distant those of St. Margaret and Caldy. In all wea- 
thers the effect to the eye, with the Norton Sands, 
bounded by their majestic cliffs, is as varied as it is 
picturesque; the sands on the south and west offer 
spacious and romantic walks close to the rocks, nearly 
as far as the grand promontory of Oiltar. 

Of the style of living at Tenby, during the summer, 
I can speak in just terms of eulogy ; but, as regards 
winter, the people of the neighbourhood, it is said, 
chiefly subsist upon codfish during the whole season. 
Even the fields are occasionally enriched with the same 
article, to render them more productive.* The women, 
iu men's hats and jackets, assist in agricultural labour ; 
and the country people understand the art of making 
good fires in their kitchens, which bum for a week 
together, with fuel that makes scarcely any smoke. 

Ever since my little trip from Holyhead, along the 
northern coast of Anglesea, to view its grand marine 
caverns — the work of a thousand storms — ^and the no 
less singular appearance of the South Stack Light- 
house,t on its little rock below the mountain of Caer 
Gybi, where I spent some pleasant hours, I had not 

* This place waa a principal town of the Flemish settlera, and once 
boanted of most productive fiahing-banka^ which are now either lost 
or ahifteiU 

t Sec " Roscoe's North Wales," p. 165. 


ceased to watcli an occasion for the enjoyment of an- 
other cruise^ and this the fine expanse of Carmarthen 
Bay supplied to my heart's desire. Without loss of 
time I engaged a small yacht, and ¥rith a companion or 
two of my own mood, taking advantage of a gentle 
breeze, early one fine clear morning, we trimmed our 
sails and steered away for Llanstephan Castle, holding 
our course as near as convenient to the land, which 
enabled me to observe the different features of the 
coast, and then fetching a point or two to the south, 
we spread our canvas to the wind, and bore up right 
ahead for the old ruins. The weather was delightful, 
not a cloud dimmed ^'the blue serene,^' a delicious 
change to one long the deuizen of smoky cities; and I 
could not but exclaim — 

"This hoar is lovely, as the morning beam 
Dances o'er eastern rock, and hill, and stream; 
This hour is lovely, as the sun's pure light 
Bursts irom the sea upon the ravish'd sight." 

No wonder we are a nation of voyagers, fond of 
change and travel, and subduing all the elements with 
the necromancy of science to promote our objects. We 
are, indeed, the real conjurers who have dived deepest 
into the old black art of converting our baser metal 
into gold, and rendering earth and ocean alike tributary 
to the potent spell of industry and enterprise. There 
is, too, something like enchantment in sailing '' o'er 
the glad waters of the dark blue sea," no one will 
deny; and that it is very like conjuring, — ^to say 
nothing of the glory of naval sovereignty, the thrilling 
pleasure of bounding from shore to shore and from 


clime to clime^ — in laying the products of all lands 
upon our own home-quays. 

"Oh, who COD tell, save be whoBe heart hath tried, 
And danced in triumph o*er the waters wide, 
The exulting sense^the pulse's maddenin^^ V^7» 
That thrills the wanderer of that trackless way 1" 

Yet let no one contemn the homely joys of a little 
inland trip, with its variety of picturesque and sublime 
objects, and the rude health and feeling of joyous 
hilarity which, in spite of oneself, it will produce. 

After making more than four hours' sail, we stood off 
opposite Ginst Point, between which and the coast near 
Llanishmael, those two noble rivers, the Taff and the 
Towey, roll their wedded streams into the broad blue 
bay. Directing our course next up the Towey, we had 
the Taff on the left, and were presently borne by the 
sheer strength of the tide within sight of the once- 
celebrated Castle of Llanstephan, finely situated on the 
brow of an elevated promontory. From its still bold 
dimensions, it must have been of commanding height, 
and breadth, and strength, and is supposed to have 
been erected in the year 1138. The chroniclers relate 
that it was besieged in 1145 by a large force of Nor- 
mans, English, and Flemings, and defended bravely by 
Meredith ap Gruffyd. The besiegers were more nume- 
rous than the garrison, but the ready skill of Meredith 
ba£9ed all their plans. An escalade was attempted, the 
ladders were placed, and the foemen filled every step to 
the summit, when the gallant commander, by the aid of 
some machines he had invented for the purpose, over- 
threw them all, and so distressed the enemy that they 


were compelled to make a hasty retreat, and finally to 
raise the siege. Standing upon its grass-grown and 
melancholy ruins, I beheld prospects spreading below 
me in all their primitive beauty and splendour ; fresh 
and gay as in the early days of that crumbling and 
shapeless mass, within whose stately halls sat knights 
and ladies, and from whose flowery lattices they gazed 
forth upon the same ever-varying, inconstant sea, — the 
blue arch of heaven, — and all that earth held of beau- 
tiful, in river, mountain, headland, and bay, — ^the very 
same that I now descried, stretching away far as the 
Worm^s Head; and on the other side, the arrowy 
bounding Towey, and portions of the district, with the 
same peculiar features, towards Carmarthen. The vil- 
lage of Llanstephan is pleasantly situated at the foot, 
and on the sides, of the beautiful hill, a little below the 

Intending, upon my route towards Pembroke, to visit 
the fine old Castle of Manorbeer, and the interesting 
ruins of the episcopal Palace of Lamphey, I took the 
nearest track to the sea. I could thus indulge my 
native predilections, imbibed in boyhood upon the 
shores of the Mersey and the Dee, for coast scenery, 
and the variety of prospects afforded by the ocean. 
Proceeding about four miles to the village of Lidstip, 
which gives the name of Lidstip Haven to an adjoining 
bay, protected from the western blasts by a range of 
high land, I obtained a splendid panoramic view, em- 
bracing Giltar Point, Caldy Island, and the Bristol 
Channel, enlivened by vessels of all kinds passing up 
and down. It fully repaid me for the route I had 
taken, and presented an opportunity of examining the 


dilFcrent strata of the rocks in the immense stone- 
quarries, which here give employment to the greater 
part of the neighbouring population. From hence 
a pleasant walk, -still affording picturesque views, 
brought me in about two miles to the dreary, and,'I am 
sorry to add, dirty village of Manorbeer. 

From the number of fragments, the '' di^ecta mem^ 
bra" of nobler edifices, strewn far around, the Manor- 
beer of other times would appear to have been much 
more extensive than at the present period. The ancient 
castle is seen beetling high over the sea, its massy 
walls remaining yet almost entire. It is situated, as 
described by Leland, '^ between two little hillcttcs,'' 
and is an extensive but irregular edifice, adapted for 
warlike times, and provided with apertures for the dis- 
charge of missile weapons, instead of windows, the light 
being admitted only from the inner court. In the old 
feudal style, the chief entrance was by a noble gateway, 
protected by a semicircular court with a large barbican, 
and strongly flanked with bastions. Its ponderous 
towers, and the extent of its site, still to be traced 
amidst a scene so wild and desolate, present a strange 
contrast to its by-gone days of power and splendour, 
and throw a savage, sombre air over the vicinity. Its 
size and position are truly grand ; from whatever spot 
it is viewed, the observer cannot fail to be struck with 
its stately magnitude and air of dignity .''^ 

* Dr Samuel Jobnson sayi, in reference to these Cambrian fortresses, 
" one of the castles in Wales would contain all he had seen in Scotland.** 
The ruins of Manorbeer give the most perfect idea of an old baronial 
cstabliHhinent. It docs not appear that it was ever the object of any 
hostile attack, and it censed to be inhabited before the feudal ago htul 
passed away, or any changes had been made in its original architecture. 



Here in the twelfth oentoiy to bom the great 
Iiistorian of the PrincipaHtT, Ginldos SQTester, coni- 
monly known by his patronTmic of CasmArensis, — the 
secretary, advuier, and trarelling compankn of Arch- 
bishop Baldwyn, — one of the most actire and intelli- 
gent ecclesiastics of his times; "a man/' as old lAm- 
barde says, ''wel learned, and as the tyme serred, 
eloquent/' He visited Jerusalem, took a sarrey of 
Ireland, and wrote descriptions <yf the different oonn- 
tries over which he travelled. He was descended, on 
the maternal side, from Rhys ap Tewdwr, one of the 
princes of Wales. At an early age, evincing a taste for 
reading, he was removed to the residence of his nncle, 
the Bishop of St. David's, who superintended his edn^^ 
cation. He then went to the continent, where he re- 
mained three years, and on his return to England, in 
1172, took orders, and was soon after presented with 
the archdeaconry of St. David's. At the decease of his 
uncle, the chapter elected Oiraldus as his successor in 
that see ; but Henry II. refused to ratify their choice, 
not thinking it prudent to raise a man of such talents 
and influence to the bench, who was allied with the 
princes of the country. After this repulse, Giraldns 
again visited France, and on his return was appointed 
one of the chaplains to the king, who committed to his 
care the education of his son John. During his resi- 
dence in Ireland, he was offered two bishoprics, which, 
however, he refused; and in 1187 accompanied Arch- 
bishop Baldwyn to preach the crusade through Wales. 
Two years afterwards he attended King Henry to 
France, and, after his decease, was employed by 
Richard I. He refused the bishoprics of Bangor and 



Landaff, having an eye on that of St. David's; but 
taking offence at repeated disappointments^ he resigned 
his preferments, retired from public notice, and spent 
the remainder of his life in literary pursuits. 

Giraldus thus describes , his native place: — '"The 
Castle of Maenorpyrr is distant about three miles fix>m 
Penbroch, It is excellently well defended by turrets 
and bulwarks. On the right hand a rivulet of never* 
failing water flows through a valley, rendered sandy by 
the violence of the winds. * * * This country is 
well supplied with corn, sea-fish, and imported wines, 
and is tempered by a salubrious air. Demetia, there- 
fore, with its seven cantreds, is the most beautiful, as 
well as the most powerful district of Wales ; Penbroch, 
the finest province of Demetia; and the place I have 
just described, the most delightful part of Penbroch. 
It is evident, therefore, that Maenorpyrr is the paradise 
of all Wales.^^ The author may be pardoned for having 
thus extolled his native soil, his genial territory, with a 
profusion of praise and admiration. 

Fronting the south side, across a small dingle watered 
by the rivulet Giraldus refers to, which supplied the 
fishponds of the castle, is seen the church, upon an 
elevated slope, with its single tower. Under a plain 
canopy in the chancel is a tomb supporting the effigy 
of a crusader, clad in a mixture of ring and plate 
armour, such as was worn soon after the Conquest, 
having his shield charged with the arms of Barri, whose 
family formerly possessed the castle and its domain. 

From the castle there are varied and extensive pro- 
spects, comprising the elegant mansion of Stackpole, 
the grand promontory beyond, called St. Qovan's Head, 


and the Bristol Channel. The mighty ocean rolls its 
resistless surges along Manorbeer Bay towards the main, 
and, breaking impetuously against the rocks below, 
mingles its sublime and eternal music with the wild 
seamew's cries, appealing to the eye and the imagina- 
tion with more than ordinary power. 

From this singularly wild and picturesque portion of 
the coast, I took my way through the villages of James- 
town and Hodgeston to the interesting ruins of Lam- 
phey, hardly more than three miles from Pembroke. 
The remains of this once magnificent palace are situated 
in meadows, and some parts, not yet dilapidated, have 
been appropriated to ornament the approach to a more 
recently erected mansion, close to the ancient edifice. 
It is mentioned, that to Bishop Oower may be ascribed 
its grandeur and extent, as that part with the arched 
parapet (found also in his other buildings — the Palace 
of St. David's and Castle of Swansea), particularly 
characterizes his style. It owes something also to his 
successors, Adam Hoton, and Vaughan, the founder of 
that elegant chapel in the cathedral of St. David which 
goes by his name. In this palace dwelt Bishop Rawlins, 
who attended Sir Rhys ap Thomas in his tournament 
at Carew Castle. The licentious Barlow was the last 
bishop that resided here, of whom it is said by one of 
his own relations, ''that he was the first Protestant 
bishop who, contrary to the canons of the apostles, 
violated his faith, assumed a wife, and being given to 
sensuality, drunkenness, and lasciviousness, broke his 
vows by contracting matrimony with a lady abbess.'' 
Old Fuller has preserved a curious epitaph on Agatha 
WcUsburn^ the lady abbess who became the wife of the 


bishop^ found in one of the churches of Hampshire^ 
which he thus translates : — 

*' UarIow*8 wife, AgsthA, doth hero remain, 
Biffhop, then exile ; bichop then hgaan ; 
So long she lived, so well her children sped. 
She saw fire bishops her five daughters wed." 

Once an episcopal palace belonging to the see of 
St. David, and subsequently a seat where the unfor- 
tunate earl of Essex spent his youth, and which he is 
said to have left " the most finished gentleman of his 
time/' these magnificent ruins appear in bolder relief 
from their association with the stirring times of their 
early history. Had Lamphey Palace been erected on 
an elevated site^ the building would have appeared more 
majestic. The eastern window still exhibits the most 
elegant tracery; and luxuriant ivy now adds to the 
picturesque appearance of the crumbling fabric. A 
gloomy and melancholy silence pervades the whole 
scene; and ere long little will remain to show the out- 
lino of this extensive and costly pile. 





And this was once the stately home 

Of pleasant festival ; 
Where gallant lords and ladies shone, 

And knights in glittering mail; 
The "Feast of Shells" here brought the throng. 

To revel and wassail. 
The pomp and splendour have no sway 

In this deserted scene, 
Yet still the vanished leaves a nay. 

To tell of what has been ; 
And now the spirit of decay 

Broods o*er the silent scene. 

The HiaHLAND Castle. 

Upon a bold rocky eminence that projects into the 
estuary of Milford Haven stand the frowning ruins of 
Pembroke Castle^ — the most extensive and magnificent^ 
perhaps^ as well as varied, of which the Principality 
can boast. Its grand imposing outline, with its nume- 
rous sides, bastions, and projections, incorporated, as 
they are, with precipitous and picturesque masses of 
rock, acquires bolder relief from the lofty site, and its 
skilful combination of old Norman architecture with 
the Gothic. The tower which overlooks the water, the 
entrance from the town, and the round tower, are all 
that remain in tolerable preservation. It was divided 


into an inner and outer ward, in the former of which 
was the keep with the state apartments, formerly occu- 
pied, it is thought, hj the countess of Richmond ; in 
the latter are the different offices for the use of the 
garrison. From this ward the town was entered by a 
gateway defended by a semicircular barbican, and a dry 
ditch cut out of the solid rock. Connected with this 
part of the fortress is the "chambre where King 
Henry VII. was bom,'* which old Leland describes 
as having ''a chymmeney'^ containing the arms and 
badges of that monarch. In the basement story of 
this suite was the door that opened into the staircase 
leading to "the marvellus vault cauUid the Hogan;" 
but it is now approached by a path carried along the 
verge of the castle rock. In Elizabeth's time this 
place is described as containing a copious spring of 
fine fresh water, but it is now choked up. This for- 
tress, the chroniclers relate, was built by Arnulph de 
Montgomery in the time of Henry II., and on the dis- 
grace of the Norman, passed into the hands of Gerald 
de Windsor, the king's lieutenant in those parts, on his 
marriage with Nest, sister of the reigning Welsh prince. 
The history of this lady forms an episode in the national 
annals. The report of her beauty and endowments 
inflamed the curiosity of the son of Cadwgan, prince 
of Powys, a youth of reckless courage and profligate 
manners. Under the pretext of a friendly visit, he was 
admitted into the castle, and became deeply enamoured 
of her. He returned home, but only to assemble a 
party of his "rake-hell companions," and on that 
same night secretly obtained entrance into the castle, 
and forcibly carried oflf this Helen of Wales. The 


seducer paid dearly for his violation of the marriage 
sanctities, and was slain a few years afterwards by an 
arrow from the enraged husband. The ruins are seen, 
perhaps, to greatest advantage when approaching the 
place by water from Pennar Mouth. 

Pembroke Castle was distinguished, at the period of 
the civil wars, by the gallant defence it made in favour 
of Charles, under the command of General Laughame 
and Colonel Poyer. Cromwell was at last sent with a 
large force to reduce it ; and though suffering at that 
time fi'om the gout, he carried on the siege with such 
vigour, cutting off the supply of water to the garrison, 
that he at last succeeded in taking possession of the 
place. Laugharne, Poyer, and Powell, with two other 
officers, surrendered to the mercy of the Parliament. 
The army and munitions of war were delivered up to 
Cromwell, and the town was preserved from plunder. 
In April, 1649, a council of war passed sentence of 
death against Powell and Laughame, as they had before 
done against Poyer; and Cromwell sent an order for 
them to draw lots to determine which of them should 
die. On two of these lots was written, " Life given by 
•God;'' the third was a blank. The prisoners, not 
willing to be the instruments of their own destiny, a 
child drew the lots, and the blank* one falling on 
Poyer, he was shot in Covent Garden, "dying very 

The town of Pembroke is advantageously situated on 
a branch of Milford Haven, which carries small vessels 
at high water up to the quay. Next to Carmarthen it 
is the most spacious and richest town in the western 
district of South Wales ; but has not increased latterly 


in wealth or population, in consequence of numerous 
remoTals to the new government settlement at Pater. 
It possesses a free school, some exoeUent inns, and a 
court-house. It has given the title of earl to several 
&milies, and, lastly, to that of the Herberts, in whom 
it still remains. 

To the north, Pembroke Ib encompassed by a thick 
wall, flanked by numerous bastions, but on the south 
its remains are sQarcely visible. It formerly possessed 
three handsome gates, ''by est, west, and north,'' as 
old Leland quaintly describes it, '' of the wich the est 
gate is fairest and strongest, having a ftdrebut compasid 
tour not rofed, in the entering whereof in a portcolys 
ex iolido ferro!* The north gate still presents a tole- 
rably entire appearance. 

Pembroke possesses two churches, dedicated to St. 
Michael and St. Mary; but they are not remarkable, 
either in their architecture or sepulchral decorations. 
The latter contains a mural tablet to Francis Parry, 
who married the daughter of Walter Cuney, at whose 
house Cromwell remained while he was suJOTering with 
the gout, and directing the siege of the casde. He 
died mayor of Pembroke, and the eulogy, consisting of 
fifteen lines, is expressed in such an affected strain, as 
to be quite ludicrous. It begins as follows : — 

" Dan Phoebas moanung, Keptune's flowing tide 
Deluged our streets when our Masoenas dy'd." 

For the attractions of its castle alone, Pembroke is 
deserving of all commendation; and firom the many 
pleasant excursions it affords, by land and water, is 
becoming a favourite place of resort with summer 
ramblers from various parts. What in fine weather 


can surpass a visit to Stackpole Court, the seat of Earl 
Cawdor — to the bluff promontory of St. Govan's Head 
— to Bosherton Meer, and, along the iron-bound coast, 
to those singular rocks called the Stacks — ^to Carew 
Castle — to the Government Dockyard at Pater — or 
a cruise through Pennar Mouth to Milford, or up the 
stream to Laurenny or Haverfordwest ? And all these 
places are well worthy the attention of visitors. 

Amongst the interesting places in this district, none 
is so well calculated to attract the wanderer's attention, 
and excite his patriotic feelings, as the Government 
Dockyard for building or repairing ships, on the margin 
of the Haven, two miles from Pembroke. I could not 
help observing the admirable arrangements of this 
establishment ; and must not withhold my approbation 
of the orderly and efficient manner in which these 
extensive public works are conducted. This place is, 
as it were, one of the nurseries by which we maintain 
our national glory and importance. Here all is activity 
and bustle. On one side lay numerous blocks of oak 
of huge dimensions, intended to form our largest ships ; 
on another, anchors of immense size, which probably 
might be destined to become the hopes of thousands of 
mariners in the hour of peril ; on one hand, a stately 
ship ready to leave the stocks ; on the other, the 
imperfect skeleton of one in progress. The whole 
establishment occupies a space of sixty-five acres, 
inclosed by a lofty wall, and contains the residence of 
the commissioner, besides houses for several officers, 
and also a church. 

The village, called Pater, that has been springing up 
close to this noble work, has of late so far increased as 

N 2 

180 PATES. 

to bid fair, at no great distance of time, to become 
a more important place tban its parent town. It 
potaenes many advantages as a place of trade, par- 
ticularly that of deep water at most periods of the tide* 
The mail from London now rons to Hobb's Point, 
instead of Milford; and the Post Office Packet for 
Waterford is brought up the Haven as far as the new 
village, in order to take in the bags. Here, too, is a 
splendid hotel, and a fine pier, both of recent construc- 
tion, built by Government. 

In my many wanderings through various lands, I 
have always found it advantageous to my purpose and 
amusement, to fix my head-quarters in some central 
place, or some district metropolis, and to diverge from 
thence in excursions, whether long or short, as might 
best suit my convenience. I have thus contrived to 
keep up the idea — and who does not love to cherish 
the idea ?^-of home. My home being now the crowded 
city, or the secluded hamlet — ^now the busy strand, or, 
not unfrequently, the solitary vessel in the wide ocean. 
According to this my practice, then, I called the hotel, 
in the long street of ''ancient Penbroch,^' my home 
during my brief sojourn in this district. 

It was on one of those fine, rich autumn days, which, 
-in the rural and well-wooded districts of Great Britain, 
make this the most delightful season of the year for a 
day's ramble, that I set off on an excursion to St. 
Govan's Head, and along the rocky coast which gives 
so bold and picturesque a character to the vicinity. 
Upon ascending the eminence outside of the town, I 
was delighted with the prospect opening around me, 
comprising Pembroke stretched at my feet, part of the 


anruffled waters of Milford Haven, with its banks of 
pasture, and corn-land, and rich red soapy fallows, and 
a bold sweeping expanse bounded only by the horizon. 
I passed forward by St. DanieVs Church, a singular 
and picturesque old edifice, with its steeple partly 
covered with ivy; and proceeding farther to the still 
higher ground of Windmill Hill, I beheld a view on 
all sides yet more beautiful and extensive, with the 
town of Milford fairly made out, and a portion of 
Pater, relieved by the range of dusky hills on the other 
side of the Haven. 

Having lingered for some time over this enchanting 
prospect, I pursued my way from this point through 
the wretched-looking village of Kingsfold, where the 
dirty hovels of the labourers form a painful contrast to 
the clean and neatly-thatched cottages of neighbouring 
England, and passed through a tolerably well-cultivated 
district to St. Petrox. The church, enveloped in a 
verdant, shade of spreading trees, and the noble park 
of Stackpole Court, form the most interesting objects 
of attention. It is the air of quietness and repose 
resting upon it, which gives to a village churchyard its 
soothing and attractive character. The house of prayer 
for the living, rising amidst the memorials of the dead 
scattered all around, naturally originates a train of 
serious thought and reflection, casting over the mind a 
purifying influence. To a wanderer like myself, this 
last peaceful resting-place is always an object of peculiar 
and affecting interest, and I cast a lingering look upon 
the grey tower of this little sanctuary, as I bent my 
steps toward Stackpole Court. I was gratified by the 
permission of the noble owner to pass through the 


ftpacious park belonging to this domain, by which I 
saved a distance of between two and three miles, and 
had the pleasure derived from contemplating the '' old 
hereditary trees/' with all those sylvan delights and 
solitudes, made vocal by the warbling of a thousand 
birds, the secret whispering of the leaves, slightly 
stirred by the soft breeze, and the deep shadows and 
recurring gleams of the wood*s recesses, celebrated 
with so much enthusiasm by the poet Cowley. 

It would be ungracious to pass by Stackpole Court 
without some description. The modern mansion, which 
is a superb building, stands upon the site of the old 
baronial residence belonging to this domain^ Sir 
Elidur de Stackpole is written in the records as the 
original possessor, and is believed to have joined the 
crusade to the Holy Land at the time when Baldwyu 
and Giraldus made their tour through the country. 
The estate passed through various hands till it came 
into the family of Lort, and afterwards into that of 
Lord Cawdor, on his marriage with the heiress of the 
former house. In the civil wars, the old castellated 
residence was garrisoned for the king, and such was 
the massiveness of its walls, that it is said " the par- 
liamentary ordnance did but little execution/' The 
present edifice of wrought limestone rises beautifully 
at the foot of a sloping hill, in the sight of a spacious 
lake, the favourite resort of almost every species of 
wild fowl, and looks over a wide-extended park, along 
which herds of deer scamper in all the gladness of their 
nature. Skirting hills and rich plantations belt the 
domain on various sides, and beyond is the bright and 
boundless ocean. " One should think," said Boswell, 


after looking over the grounds of Kedleston^ in com- 
pany with Dr. Johnson^ "that the proprietor of all 
this must be happy." " Nay, sir," the sage replied, 
" all this excludes but one evil — ^poverty." 

The carriage-road which passes through the park- 
gates commences at St. Petrox, and within a hundred 
yards from thence the broad expanse of the ocean 
almost suddenly breaks upon the view, here and there 
studded vrith white sails. From the same eminence a 
prospect is commanded over a considerable portion of 
the park. Every object around seemed invested with 
the calm, solemn peace of the dark majestic woods ;[ 
not a cloud shadowed "the deep serene." The sun 
shone clear in mid-heaven; the music of mjnriads of 
insects arose above the whispers of the gentle wind 
amongst the leaves; the rooks hovered in wild con- 
centric circles above my head, and the cattle in groups 
were seeking the coolness of the shade and stream. 
Nothing could surpass the variegated beauty of the 
foliage, and the rich contrast of colours between these 
ancient foresters, sacred from the woodman's touch, 
with their stems and branches partially exposed by the 
winds of autumn ; the silver-barked birch, that " lady 
of the woods," gracefully dipping her bending branches 
in the clear waters, the shining ash, the smooth beech, 
the rough elm, the knotted moss-grown oak, blending 
together their rich dying hues of the year's decline, 
threw an ineffable charm over the whole landscape. 
On my right, and a little farther onwards, was an almost 
perfect solitude of trees, still in full leaf, whose branches 
meeting above quite shut out the sun's rays, except 
through casual openings. To the left again was a deep 

184 ST. GOVAN. 

dellj entirely covered with the hazel^ the aspen, and 
the mountain ash, while the wild rose, the stretching 
blackberry, and that green parasite the ivy, filled up 
the vacant spaces under the overhanging boughs ; so 
thick, indeed, were their intermingled leaves and 
branches, that a glimpse could scarcely be caught of 
the romantic stream which threads its way along the 
centre of this dell, till it reaches the sea, though its 
murmuring and rippling were continually breaking 
upon the ear. Here and there I perceived, scattered 
through the park^ several extensive sheets of water, the 
margins covered with underwood and rushes. 

The wanderer's track is not always, like the traveller*8 
road, straight, measured, and macadamissed; but, in 
lieu of this, it is — what pleases him a thousand times 
more — unconstrained and free, stretching onwards 
wherever his purpose, or the ever-varying mood of his 
mind may lead. When I had bid adieu to the mag- 
nificence and beauty of Stackpole Court, I struck off 
across the fields, and pursued my solitary way to Bosh- 
erton. The fragrance of the furze, which here grows 
luxuriantly, and was still richly in flower, quite per- 
fumed the air; and fresh pictures of natural beauty 
and variety continually opened upon the eye as I passed 
on over the heathy moor. At length I reached the 
bluff promontory of St. Govan,* projecting his rocky 
head high above the sea ; the scenery all around being 
precipitous, rocky, and wild. A flight of rude limestone 
steps, which are said to have the mystic property of 

* The great dieplay of Bcenery is at Sir Gawaine*8 Chapel and Head. 
This TaHant knight baa been transformed by popular error into a 

ST. GOVAN. 185 

confounding all attempts to count tliem^ leads to the 
ancient chapel. A little lower is a spring of dear 
bubbling water, encircled with brick-work, which is said 
to be miraculous in the cure of chronic and cutaneous 
diseases. Descending thence are some fragments of 
limestone, which, when struck with a stone, produce a 
sound like that of a bell. This, too, is a miracle, in 
this place of wonders, and is thus accounted for. A 
party of pirates happening to land on this spot, plun- 
dered the anchorite's chapel of its bell, and that the 
holy man might not be deprived of this help to his 
devotion, the sonorous property was communicated to 
the broken rocks it touched in the progress of its 
abduction. The fissure in the rocks, in which the little 
chapel is built, appears to have been produced by a 
violent convulsion of nature. This exposition, how- 
ever, is too natural, and there is, as may be supposed, 
appended to it a tradition that has more of marvel in it. 
It is said, that it opened at first from the solid rock to 
shelter a saint pursued by his pagan persecutors, and 
after inclosing him till the chase was over, opened again 
to let him out, and was never afterwards closed. In 
confirmation, a place may be seen bearing a faint im- 
pression of the form of the saint. The prospect from 
this place is one of the most extensive and sublime 
I have ever beheld. Seated on the dry mossy turf 
above the terrific chasm, I indulged in contemplating 
the surrounding wildness, and the changing lights which 
danced upon the ocean. Out of the beaten road of 
tourists, at the farthest end, indeed, of the county, the 
tract of St. Gk)van, extreme in its loneliness, and almost 
unvisited by man, produced feelings and sensations in 

186 8T. OOVAN. 

unison with the extraordinary characteristics of the 
scene. The building is said to have been a hermitage, 
but it has more the appearance of a rude chapel than 
anything else. It would be quite a tempting retreat 
to a modem anchorite, had not the eternal law of 
change, in its whimsical caprices, made the friendless 
dweller in crowded cities not unfirequently the most 
solitary being on earth. 

From the inner cove of the bay, on the sides of which 
the chapel stands, the vision, at first bounded by rocks 
of a thousand irregular forms, is then carried, in distant 
perspective, over the wide expanse of the boundless sea; 
but^ in directing the eye along this iron-bound coast, 
vast caverns are discovered in the rocks, formed by the 
incessant action of the waves. In some instances, 
indeed, perforations have been made in the jutting 
rocks, through which, when the spirit of the western 
storm is raised, the ocean pours its rolling waters, and 
the wild winds howl and shriek in appalling frenzy. 

The day was gloriously fine; the clear blue waters 
shone bright and smooth as a magnificent mirror far 
below me ; the sun's rays painted the multiform aspect 
of the rocks in a thousand variegated hues, rich as the 
rainbow's tints. The seamews wheeled in airy circles ; 
now dipping in their rapid flight their grey wings 
in the spray^ now breasting the wave, as though the 
water was their only element. At every step^ as I pur* 
sued my way along the bleak and craggy heights, 
myriads of these creatures were disturbed from their 
dizzy resting-places on the ledges of the rocks, and with 
wild and plaintive cries swept along my solitary path. 
In a short time I came to that fearful fissure in the cliffs. 

huntsman's leap — BOSHERTON MEER. 187 

called the Huntsman's Leap^ of whicli tradition relates, 
that two huntsmen, coming upon it in full career, 
plunged over at a single bound. 

A little beyond this is a singular place, called Bosh- 
erton Meer, formed by the perpetual force of the waves. 
It presents on the surface of the ground only a small 
aperture, which, like a winding funnel, gradually widens 
below until it spreads into an extensive vault open to 
the sea. In stormy weather, when the sea beats with 
violence against the rocks, the noise emitted from this 
aperture is awful, and occasionally large columns of 
spray are forced through it to an immense height. 
Small bays and creeks indented this undulating line of 
coast; and chasms and craggy rocks, inhabited by cor- 
morants, razorbills, and gulls, continually intersected 
my progress, until I reached the land opposite the two 
lofty insular rocks called the Stacks. The harsh and 
discordant notes of that singular bird the eligug, a 
species of auk, soon announced that I had intruded 
upon their favourite haunts, and disturbed '' their an- 
cient solitary reign.'' From time immemorial, this 
peculiar tribe has been the tenant of these lonely rocks. 
Its members are wayfarers from a distant land. They 
hold no communion with other tribes of the feathered 
race, and seldom settle upon any other part of the coast. 
Sailing over these stormy towers they look upon that 
narrow neck of land, where once stood the camp of the 
Scandinavian pirate, from whose little bay, apparently 
scooped out of the rock, he was accustomed to push off 
his adventurous bark on perilous enterprises.''^ Rising 

* The entrance to this camp waa by a winding aaoent up the doping 
rocks. The ramparts stretohed to the other side of the isthmus^ 


in dondfl above my head, they almost darkened the au% 
uttering icreams of such peculiar discord, that I was 
glad to pursue my way, taking the path through 
Warren, Stem Bridge, and passing by the estate of 
Orielton, the seat of Sir John Owen. I was much 
delighted by the contrast which this fine fertile country 
presents to the bleak savage character of the coast 
scenes I had just left, and by the varied images of 
beauty and repose which were now spread around me. 

Having recovered from the fatigue of my former 
ramble, I took the advantage of a calm serene day to 
make my intended excursion to Carew Castle. Magnifi- 
cent in its ruins, the vast dimensions of this lordly mo- 
nument of heroic days cover part of a slight elevation 
of land on the most easterly arm of the haven of Milford. 
The noble apartments which surrounded a quadrangle, 
with an immense bastion at each comer, the grand 
gateway leading into a spacious court, and some mag- 
nificent windows, are still to be seen as the remains of 
this splendid structure. 

The castle is situated at a short distance from the 
village of Carew ; and the appearance of its vast roofless 
walls, still presenting a broad bulwark to the shocks of 
time, is at once solemn and sublime. Two immense 
trees, having their trunks within the fortress, send forth 
huge feelers, which seem to dimb with redoubled 
strength amid the spreading devastations of ages — 
crowning the topmost points — disguising the yawning 
gaps, made in the struggle of years, and throwing 

where the precipitous cliiFs furnished a sufficient defence. In this place 
is a fearful aperture,— the Cauldron,~which is connected with the sea 
at the bottom by two natural arches in the rocks. 


freshness and beauty around decay. The north view of 
this edifice^ which the pencil and the graver have so 
graphically represented, conveys, perhaps, the best idea 
of its original grandeur and extent ; the walls on the 
south having been destroyed by that great leveller of 
strongholds, Oliver Cromwell. 

A few of the apartments are yet in a great measure 
entire; among these is the great banqueting-hall, of 
regal capaciousness, in earlier days the seat of feudal 
pomp and magnificent hospitality. Three ancient coats 
of arms still decorate the entrance. The splendid state- 
room, too, of still greater dimensions, in which there 
are are yet remains of elegant marble cornices, and 
fireplaces with Corinthian columns, rich in device and 
exquisite in workmanship, is now tenanted by birds of 
prey. Silence reigns in these halls ; not that of repose, 
but of utter desolation and irremediable ruin — ^a silence 
deep and imbroken, save from the footfall of the solitary 

Carew Castle — ^formerly the residence of a Welsh 
prince and a long line of regal and lordly lineage, also 
part of the portion of the beautiful Nest on her mar- 
riage with Gerald de Windsor — ^in its high and palmy 
days, transcended most of its feudal contemporaries; 
its courts and halls have been thronged with gallant 
knights and their retainers, and made vocal with the 
minstrelsy of that heroic age ; its tapestried rooms have 
entertained the fairest dames of Cambria, in those days 
of love and chivalry, and have echoed to the chanson 
amoureux of the wayward troubadour; and many a 
palmer has held his audience in breathless wonder, as he 
told the marvellous tales of his weary wanderings in 



foreign lands. Iligli and featal days has Carew Castle 
seen, when royal visitors, in long succession, were en* 
tertained within its walls. Various, indeed, has been 
the fate of this stronghold of feudal power. Carew 
Castle has borne the stem brunt of ruthless war — ^it 
has suffered many a protracted siege — ^it has heard the 
lament of many a solitary prisoner in its donjon, and 
witnessed many a secret or open deed of blood. But 
gallant knights, and &ir dames, and merry minstrels, 
and mysterious pilgrims, have all vanished, like the 
visions in Banquo's glass, and lone and grass-grown 
courts and crumbling walls, and scattered fragments, 
with the scroll of the veritable chronicler, alone remain 
to tell that such things were. 

This structure appears to be of different ages. Ac* 
cording to Leland, it was remodelled and enlarged by 
Sir Rhys ap Thomas. On the south side it opened 
upon a handsome and extensive deer-park. In part of 
this ground the same knight held a special tournament, 
with other warlike games and pastimes, in honour of 
St. George, for the entertainment of Henry Y II., when 
on his route to Bosworth field, to which came men of 
''prime ranke'' from all parts. ''This festivall and 
time of jollitie continued the space of five dayes,'' as 
the historian relates, and " tentes and pavillions were 
pitched in the parke, neere to the castle,'^ for the spec- 
tators of these " rare solemnities, wheare they quartered 
all the time, everie man according to his qualities.^' 

Near the entrance to the lawn, in front of the castle, 
just on the road-side leading to Carew church and 
village, stands one of the early crosses, in the centre of 
which is an elaborate inscription that cannot now be 



. Wave after waTe, 

If rach they might be called, dashed as in sport, 
Xot anger, with the pebbles on the beach. 
Making wild music, and fiff westward caught 
The sonbeam ; where, alone and as entranced. 
Counting the hoars, the fisher in his skiff 
Lay with his circular and dotted' line 
On the bright waters.— RooBBS. 

The next morning after returning firom Carew to 
Pembroke, I hired a boat firom the latter place, intend- 
ing, in company with a fiiend, to cruise about the 
Haven during the day, and to take up my quarters at 
Milford in the evening. Upon clearing a little way 
off Pembroke, the waters of what may be called the 
southern arm of Milford Haven became enlargedj 
stretching in parts a mile across, and having the 
appearance of an extensive lake encircled by rising 
ground — the outlet of this great body of. water, at 
the straits called Pennar Mouth, not being more than 
two hundred yards broad. Here the tide of course 
runs with great rapidity eitehr up or down ; and boats 
cannot readily work against the power of the stream. 

Leaving behind us the Pennar heights, and entering 


a wider expanse of water^ I beheld the far-famed 
Milford Haven, with its boundaries endlessly varied, 
and alive with vessels of various size and character 
in every attitude, interspersed with fishing-boats and 
skiffs moving about in all directions. Although there 
is a dreary bleakness about the hills surrounding the 
Haven, yet a scene more lovely and striking can 
hardly be imagined. In some parts the banks are 
pleasingly diversified, particularly towards Laurenny, 
where the scenery is richly wooded, and along the 
foot of the river extending to Slebech on the east and 
Bolston on the west. This noble sheet of water is 
about twelve miles long, varying from two to three 
in breadth, and is sufficiently capacious to hold at 
anchor all the navy of Great Britain. 

The town of Milford is agreeably situated on a point 
of high land with a gentle slope towards the water, 
from which it has a very imposing effect. Some 
twenty or thirty years ago it bid fair to become one of 
our principal marts of commerce — it grew important 
and full of business, and of wealth too ; but the turn 
of the tide could not be more rapid than its decline 
from its former prosperity. 

There now appears to be a stagnation of every thing 
like trade, which is chiefly attributable to the removal 
of the Government Dockyard, together with many 
hundred men, higher up the Haven. With it, the 
old commerce seems also to have taken its departure 
for ever ; for inquiringly as I looked about me, I could 
not catch the sight of a single trader belonging to the 
place. To complete its desertion, the postmaster- 
general has ordered the steam- packet for Waterford 


to be brought up the stream as far as Pater; so that 
the mail coach now drives to Hobb's Point instead of 
Milford, saving thereby a distance of about five miles. 

"A Visitor*' has a strange sound to the Milford 
people ; he is lopked upon as a foreigner^ whose now- ^ 
and-then appearance serves to keep alive public curi- 
osity; this is particularly the case with the innkeeper, 
who holds the hotels I understood, without paying any 
rent, solely to keep it from falling into decay. Poor 
man ! Nothing can exceed the disconsolate air of his 
establishment ; and his only gratifying reflection is in 
a retrospect of former times, and the mournful conso- 
lation that "it was not always so." That which old 
Lambarde wrote of Milford some centuries ago, might 
now pass current for a description of its present state. 
'^ A great haven in Wales,'' says he, " whereof I finde 
no other notable thinge, but that King Henry VII. 
aided by his friendes for the recoverie of hys righte, 
landed here, what time he came to fighte with Richard 
the Thyrde, usurper of the crowne, in which attempt he 
had prosperous success.** 

The only stirring event that marked my visit to 
Milford, was the destruction by fire of a large foreign 
ship, which had put in a short time previously for some 
repairs ; and it was certainly a glorious sight, however 
much to be deplored. She burst into flames at mid- 
night, and was consumed to the water's edge. I was 
aroused in the dead of night, when all around was 
wrapt in darkness; the sudden, terrific contrast was, 
indeed, grand and appalling. To behold the sea 
illumined with the blaze — the rolling waves resembling 
masses of moving fire, red as a lake of blood — the 



crashing of the masts as they fell one by one — ^with 
the eagerness of the whole place to lend assistance, or 
their gathering in groups to gaze upon the magnificent 
spectacle, was awfully picturesque, and as interesting 
as it was terrible. 

From Milford I forthwith bent my coarse towards 
Haverfordwest, Fishguard, and Cardigan. On reaching 
the summit of the hill near Stainton,* the retrospect 
is exceedingly agreeable, comprising the broad part 
of the noble harbour of Milford, and the opposite 
promontories of Angle and St. Ann's Head. About 
two miles to the right of the road is Ros Market, a 
small village lying on the edge of a cheerful vale, 
where once stood the mansion of Sir Richard Walter, 
whose daughter was the mistress of Charles II. and 
the mother of the unfortunate duke of Monmouth. 
In this place was bom Dr. Zachary Williams, the 
father of the blind lady for so many years the com- 
panion of the celebrated Dr. Johnson. Pressing on- 
ward by the village of Johnston, formerly the seat of 
Lord Kensington, over Pope Hill, and passing Harold- 
stone, St. IsmaePs, where once was the cell of a saint of 
that name, I crossed Mawdlen's Bridge, and soon 
found myself within the town of Haverfordwest. 

This place is one of the largest and most prosperous 
towns in Pembrokeshire. It is favourably situated for 

* Adam de Staintou was the first Roman or Flemish lord of this 
place, and, it is believed, founded the church. The steeple, in the civil 
wars, was garrisoned by twenty musketeers, and preserved as a place 
of observation. Sir William James, who was the son of a miller in 
the neighbourhood, and who afterwards rose to the rank of com- 
modore in the navy, and governor of Qreenwlch Hospital, received his 
education at the school of this place. 


trade on the river Cleddy, which communicates with 
the sea at Milford Haven ; but in itself it is uninter- 
esting^ both from its narrow zigzag streetis and the 
dull inanimate appearance of its inhabitants. It has^ 
however^ a respectable air at a distance^ and, perhaps, 
the best view of it is from the road leading to Fish- 
guard. It was once the capital of the Flemish colony, 
settled in the district of Boos, which became from 
that circumstance the cradle of the woollen manu- 
factory of England. "Theise Flemynges,*' as old 
Lambarde writes, " weare not welcome to the Welsh- 
men; but for all that they pyked out a lyvinge 
amongst them, and weare, as it should seme, the first 
that exercised the misterie of drapinge within that 
quarter.'^ The remains of the old castle, which was 
anciently a formidable fortress, built in the reign of 
Stephen, have been converted into the county gaol. 
On the outside of the town may be seen what yet 
remains of the- Priory of Black Canons, once a 
building of considerable extent. 

From this point, if the traveller be desirous of a 
pleasant walk of about four miles, and should have the 
industry to take it, he may find himself seated in the 
park belonging to Ficton Castle; and, on casting his 
eye over the beautiful intermixture of umbrageous 
verdure, green and level lawns, and fertile fields, which 
compose the surrounding scenery, he will not regret 
the labour. The castle has many associations which 
render it an object of great interest. It is connected 
with the lawless times of William II., when the 
arbitrary will of the sovereign constituted the authority, 
and military power and violence the means, of forcible 

o 2 

196 8LEBECH. 

and uDJost possession. Its mixed architecture bears 
the traces of its transition from the almost impregnable 
strength of a ruthless age, to the elegant and con- 
Tenient domestic arrangements of more secure and 
peaceful days. It is built in the centre of the domain, 
and commands a view of the confluence of two fine 
streams, which roll their dear bright waters into the 
Haven. There is one circumstance which is peculiar 
to this edifice, especially when it is contrasted with the 
changes and desolation of most of the great buildings 
of this eventful country, which I shaU give in the 
words of Mr. Fenton, who speaks of it as ''a castle 
never forfeited, never deserted, never vacant, that never 
knew a melancholy blank in its want of a master; 
which had always the good fortune to be inhabited by 
lords of its own, men eminent in their day as warriors, 
as statesmen, and as Christians; from whose walls 
hospitality was never exiled, and whose governors might 
be said to have been hereditary. A castle in the midst 
of possessions and forests coeval with itself, and proudly 
looking over a spacious domain to an inland sea, 
bounding its property and its prospects beyond them, 
for such is Kcton Castle.'' 

I left the park by the richly- wooded path leading to 
Slebech, where once stood a commandery, belonging to 
the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. 
The church of this place, which is, perhaps, coexistent 
with the institution, contains some monuments and 
sculptured effigies which will detain the curious anti- 
quary. The present mansion of Slebech is an elegant 
edifice, built on the site of the old commandery, and 
looks upon the beautiful river as did the fortress of the 


knights. I left Slebech with regret ; for its historical 
Hssociations^ woodland beauties^ and autumn loveliness, 
had taken possession of my mind and heart; and 
having regained the high road, I arrived in the after- 
noon at the village of Bobeston Wathen, in the neat 
inn of which place, as the rain had begun to fall in 
torrents, I determined on taking up my quarters during 
the night. For a road- side hostelrie I found in it more 
appliances of comfort than I had expected, and mine 
host was active in his civilities. But it had other and 
more intellectual claims upon my notice ; for in travel- 
ling, whether far or near, I quite agree with one of the 
most delightful writers of our age,* that " we multiply 
events, and that innocently. We set out, as it were, 
on our adventures ; and many are those that occur to 
us, morning, noon, and night. The day we come to a 
place which we have long heard and read of, is an era 
in our lives ; and from that moment the very name 
calls up a picture.^' And so it was with me. I met in 
'^ the inn's best room'' an agreeable and intellectual 
companion— one whose profession was connected with 
all that is refined and liberal. He was a painter. He 
had followed the same wild coast-path as myself. He 
had seen the winged watchers on the Stacks, and stood 
on the bold jutting promontory of St. Govan, looking 
out upon that broad ocean, whose ever-rolling waves 
fitly suggest the idea of eternity. He had, like me, 
struck off from the stormy scenes of savage nature, 
with her stem rocks and foaming billows, to luxuriate 
in her peaceful smiles, as she hushed and cradled the 
winds in the rich glens and valleys of this picturesque 

* Samuel Rogers. 


county. We compared our pictures, not our graphic 
or caligraphic ones^ but those original paintings traced 
on the clear fluid of the vision, and then transferred in 
all their richness to the memory, as their receding 
lines vanished before the advancing forms of another 
and yet another, still more sublime and lovely than the 
first. It was but an instantaneous mental act to sum- 
mon from their secret storehouse picture after picture, 
and to expatiate again and again upon their surpassing 
beauties and sublimities; revelling in this interchange 
of thought and fancy, with emotions as fresh and rich 
as those with which they were first seen. This was an 
evening in my changeful life that I shall long remember. 
Early the following morning I "parted from my 
pleasant friend, never, perhaps, to see him again, and 
bent my way across the country to Fishguard. On 
gaining an eminence at a short distance, I rested to 
watch the sun breaking in all his splendour over the 
woody ridge of old Llewhaden; his first rays resting 
on the hoary ruins of its castle."^ Bright and glowing 
were his beams as they played, almost in mockery, 
upon this ancient heritage of the mitred lords of St. 
David's. The ivy had wreathed itself in uncontrolled 
luxuriance round the solitary tower that remains of 
this once massy pile, flaunting with the air of undis- 
puted possession, and covering by its thick and spreading 
leaves the destructive progress of ages ; 

" AU green and wildly fresh without^ but grey and worn beneath." 

* This castle constitutes the caput baronice, by virtue of which the 
bishop of St. David*8 sits in Parliament It was built by Bishop Beoke, 


Below it lay the fine valley of Tal y Bont, with its 
mansion^ through which the river Cleddau^ rapid, deep, 
and clear, pursues its onward course to meet the majes- 
tic tide of Milford. Nothing could exceed the lovely 
composition of this scene, the venerable remains of the 
castellated palace, — ^the wood-crowned steep, clothed 
in the rich and varied hues of autumn, — ^the narrow 
green vale with its little church, — ^the bridge stretching 
its architectural proportions across the playful waters, 
all harmonized and mellowed by situation and distance, 
and animated with the exhilarating influences of the 
fresh morning breeze. Passing next through Clarbeston' 
and Spittal, I came to the high road towards Fishguard, 
near Leweston mountain; but the remainder of the 
route was tame and uninteresting. It was quite a 
contrast to the valley scene of Tal y Bont. Scarcely 
a wood, a hill, or a river presented itself to relieve the 
dull monotony; and in one part I went miles together 
almost without passing a single habitation. 

The town of Fishguard is chiefly built upon a steep 
rock on the northern part of Pembrokeshire, which is 
washed by the waters of St. George's Channel. It 
possesses an extensive bay and harbour, sweeping for 
three miles in form of a crescent, having the bold 
promontory of Dinas on the north-east, and the huge 
wedged-shaped headland of Penanglfts on the north- 
west. From its depth of water, a pier might readily 
be formed which would afford shelter for vessels 

enlarged and ornamented by Bishops Hoton and Vanghan, and dis- 
mantled by Bishop Barlow, and its materials sold by that avaricious "^ 


passing up and down the Channel, in the frequent 
storms peculiar to this coast. 

Although the town wears a pleasing and rather 
interesting aspect from the beach, yet it possesses few 
well-built houses ; which, perhaps, explains the reason 
why Fishguard is not resorted to for sea-bathing. 
Prom the number of people I met of very advanced 
age, I should judge the air to be very salubrious ; and 
in this respect I believe it resembles most places 
situated on an eminence above the sea. Notwith- 
standing the want of &shionable recommendation, 
there is a constant succession of objects calculated to 
interest the visitor, especially in the vessels passing 
along the Channel, and the number of fishing-boats 
and other small craft entering and leaving the bay. 

Taking advantage of a fine afternoon, I set out upon 
a walk of some four miles, through the village of 
Llanwnda to Gbodwick Beach, where, at a place called 
Aber-y-felin, a descent was made by the French under 
General Tate, on the 20th February, 1797. The 
singular clearness and serenity of the day had tempted 
the good people of Fishguard to the beach, when three 
large vessels were discovered standing in from the 
Channel, and nearing the rocky coast of Llanwnda, 
which by the inhabitants at first were taken for Liver- 
pool merchantmen becalmed, and coming to an anchor 
to wait the return of the tide or a brisker gale ; but a 
most serious alarm was excited, when boats were seen 
putting off full of men, in such rapid succession as to 
leave no doubt of their being an enemy, which, late in 
the evening, was confirmed by their actually having 
begun to disembark^ a service that was not completed 


fill midnight. The inhabitants more immediately 
within reachj for the most part deserted their houses^ 
and took refiige in the rocks and thick furze. The 
town of Fishguard^ and its vicinity, though a little 
farther off, caught the general panic ; and the inhabi- 
tants effected the removal of their wives, children, and 
most valuable articles for greater security into the 

The French, after the labour of landing their am- 
munition, abandoned themselves to- plunder the neigh- 
bouring dwellings and indulged in every kind of brutal 
excess, till they became so intoxicated as to be utterly 
insubordinate, and incapable of control by their 
officers. In the mean time the tocsin was sounded; 
the troops in the immediate neighbourhood were 
assembled, and by the morning light crowds of Welsh 
women in their red cloaks, with their usual curiosity, 
crowned the siurrounding heights. Tate, seeing the 
state of his own troops, and taking the red cloaks for 
a gallant army ready to pounce upon him, sent forward 
a flag of truce, and agreed to an unconditional 

Wanderer as I am along the highways and by-ways 
of many lands, and though my track is often as way- 
ward as my mood may be, albeit there is still some 
method in my wanderings, which the gentle reader 
will not fail to discover, if he be but careful to follow 
assiduously upon my steps. In this way it was that I 
took the path coastwise in the direction of Newport, 
placing before me, as the ultimate object of my present 
excursion, Cardigan, and the interesting scenes upon 
the lower part of that fine river, the Teivy, — gathering 


up, by the way, the rich associations of by-gone days, 
which almost cluster upon these green spots of early 

Has the traveller ever found himself alone on some 
unfrequented path, amidst the everlasting hiUs and 
bold gigantic forms of primeval nature, shaped and 
fashioned, it may be, in some sense, by the slow wear 
of almost unnumbered ages, — surrounded at the same 
instant^ by the memorials of time, decaying and ruined 
in its lapses, though exhibiting in their massy remains 
a purpose of perpetuity, as if to emulate her enduring 
power? — and has he, alsOj in connection with such 
scenes, unfettered his imagination, and directed it to 
accompany the march of events that have been traced 
by the pen of some faithful chronicler, with which he 
has enriched his memory? Then has the traveller 
known something of the strange, fitful^ melancholy^ 
and richly sensitive emotions of the Wanderer as he 
trod the path he is now describing. 

On my right rose the huge mountain range of 
the Perselly, with the Vrenny Vawr, stretching to the 
east, as its extreme outpost, looking inland, and far 
over the neighbouring counties of Carmarthen and 
Cardigan; while Cam Englyn, like a giant^ on its 
western point, frowns from his rocky summit upon the 
open sea, having within his range the bold promontory 
of Dinas Head, and the fine bays of Newport and 
Fishguard, with the rich valleys of Nevem and the 
Gwajm. Between these distant mountains, in a reced- 
ing line, and towering to a still greater height, stands 
another stupendous ridge, like a broad battalion, con- 
necting its van and rear guard, over which human 


industry has constructed a road^ that opens a direct 
communication from Cardigan to the port of Milford. 

As I stood on the high land of the coast^ the scene 
was full hefore me^ invested with all the interest 
belonging to its real facts and marvels. Centuries 
have passed away since the first lord of Cemaes^ a 
Norman adventurer^ anchored in the clear calm bay of 
Fishguard^ then a little fishing village, known by the 
name of Abergwayn, and afterwards won by his good 
sword the first independent territory from the ancient 
princes of Wales. The little height of Cronllwyn, on 
the western side of the great Perselly range, marks 
the insulated spot where the daring invader in defiance 
unfurled his standard. His onward course was the 
mountain pass, disputed with fearful obstinacy by the 
men of Morvill ; but victory was with the Norman; he 
crossed the highest ridge with his long line of martial 
followers, and on a heathy plain, — "the upland of the 
aimless bow,'^ — at the foot of the pass of Bwlchgwynt, 
the terrified inhabitants, dismayed by the number and 
force of his military array, laid down their arms, 
unstrung their bows, and submitted to him as a con- 

Not far distant stood the Castle of Newport, now 
desolate in its ruins, which was built by the Norman, 
and became the chief baronial residence of the first 
Lord Marcher. Its deep moat, its grand gateway, its 
fallen towers, and its ample remains, attest the former 
strength of the place, and the architecture of the age 
in which it reared its proud head. Behind it rises 
boldly the mountain of Carn Englyn, while before it 
spreads the beautiful bay, flanked by the headlands of 


Dinas and Ceibwr. Newport^ with its little port at the 
mouth of the Nevern, is now a straggling town, meanly 
built. It waa " auncyently termed Abernever/' as old 
Ldand says, '' and to the custodie whereof William the 
Conquerowr deputed one Marten of Tyron/' It now 
presents a painful contrast to its former power and 
importance. This place is little deserving of remark, 
except for the extraordinary cromlech of Pentre Evan, 
and the great number of Druidical remains that enrich 
its neighbourhood. 

I pursued my way to Cardigan, the capital of the 
county, which stands on the northern bank of the 
Teivy, at the edge of a province called, in early times, 
the Red Valley. One of the finest rivers in the Princi- 
pality, rising in the summit of the mountainous region to 
the north-east, the Teivy, flows with almost unequalled 
grandeur into the capacious bay. Over the river is 
an ancient stone bridge of seven arches, and at one 
end a building in which, it is reported, Giraldus 
preached the crusade. Cardigan Castle, built in the 
reign of Henry II., was of considerable size and 
strength. Few fortresses have undergone greater 
vicissitudes than this. Raised in a lawless age, it has 
passed into the possession of successive masters, as 
fraud or violence gave to each- the superiority. Its 
walls have been by turns manned and assailed by 
Normans, English, and Welsh; and the bow, the 
javelin, the battle-axe, and the cannon, have each done 
the work of destruction, both in its attack and defence. 

The war-cry of many nations has been raised from 
its lofty towers ; and the peaceful stream of the Teivy, 
that washed its massy walls in the day of its strength, 
and was often stained with the blood of hostile comba- 



tants^ now rolls its silent tide, in an undisturbed 
current, by its ruins. Nor has this celebrated fortress 
been the scene of contest and violence alone. It has 
had its high and solemn days of festivity and regal 
magnificence, and the splendid entertainment of 
Cadwgan ranks amongst the most distinguished of 
that early age of feudal hospitality, of minstrelsy and 
song. Its power and existence, however, terminated in 
the civil wars, at which time it was held in the name 
of the king, but yielded at last, like many others, to 
the bravery and perseverance of the Parliamentary 
forces under General Langhome.* 

Fixing Cardigan as my head-quarters for a few days, 
I had some pleasant opportunities of making aquatic 
excursions upon the beautiful river Teivy, sailing up or 
down as the scenery invited, or my fancy might lead 
me; and occasionally leaving my little bark on the 
stream, and rambling, in all the ecstasy of invigorated 
spirits, along its sinuous and ever- varied banks. This 
is an unfrequented district by the ordinary tourist, 
because apparently a little divei^ng from the usual 

* This castle derives a more modem celebrity from havlog been the 
residence of Mrs. Catherine Phillips, a poet of Jeremy Taylor's days, 
and the lady for whom, under the fanciful name of Orinda, that 
excellent man long miuntained a friendship. She b supposed by 
Bishop Heber to have been the author of a whimsical treatise on 
" Artificial Handsomeness," erroneously attributed to the divine ; 
which is nothing more or less than a ** formal defence of painting the 
lace/' and anointing the brows with ** ceruse and antimony." To this 
lady Taylor addressed his " Discourse on Friendship/' — and for which, 
in return, she styles him, in one of her poems, the " noble Palnmon." 
This lady was the regular blue-stocking of the day, and was celebrated 
by all the wits of her age. Ck>wley wrote an elegy on her death, 
which, like most of the set poems of that time, is full of odd conceits 
and far-fetched allosions. 


tracks but to me a more inviting one from that circum- 
stance. The Teivjr, which is the barrier river between 
the counties of Pembroke and Cardigan, presents^ at 
every turn in its devious course, the peculiar beauties 
of both ; and is, as Oiraldus says, '' stoared withe sal- 
mon and otter above al the ryvers in Wales.'' At one 
time it winds its silent way between the hills, filling 
the intervening space with its clear deep waters, — 
except, indeed, where sometimes a narrow path is saved, 
seemingly to entice the foot of the delighted passenger, 
— its high and sloping banks covered with trees of the 
richest verdure, now gracefully dipping their pendent 
branches in the stream, or bristling on the summit in 
the stately forms of the fir and pine, — and then again, 
as if rejoicing at its escape from such seclusion; sending 
its laughing tide through many a richly-wooded and 
romantic dale, in full career to the main. 

Unmooring my boat at Cardigan, I pulled into the 
current of the stream^ and soon rsached that part 
where the river becomes contracted, gliding amongst 
rocky eminences, which rise on either side, occasionally 
broken into broad and picturesque masses, and as often 
relieved and insulated by intervening quarries and open- 
ings. The passage of the river discloses a continued 
variety of objects : not a few of the reaches, which its 
perpetual windings afiTord, are eminently beautiful. In 
many parts the course of the stream fades from the eye, 
and the little vessel glides gently forward as on the 
bosom of a lake, while its beauty ofiers a combination 
of rock and foliage, of quarry, level green, and many- 
coloured mosses, in constant and gratifying succession, 
throwing a singular air of loveliness and repose over 
the whole scene. 



" If thon art worn and bard beset 

With sorrows that thou wouldst forget — 
If thou wouldst read a lesson that will keep 
Thy heart from fainting, and thy soul from sleep. 
Go to the woods and hills! — no tears 
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears." 

At a distance of five miles from Cardigan, imme- 
diately following a graceful bend of the river, the noble 
Castle of Kilgarran bursts suddenly on the view. It 
was evening when I first saw this stupendous pile of 
interesting ruins. The moon shone with unequalled 
beauty and clearness. My bark lay silently upon the 
tranquil stream, under the shadow of two projecting 
capes, on one of which, rising perpendicularly from the 
bed of the river, the castle once stood in commanding 
majesty ; but now in solitude, sadness, and desolation. 
As I gazed upon it, my mind ran over the stirring 
events associated with its history, and recalled its 
localities, with which from description I had become 
familiar. There were the frowning bastions and curtain 
walls, built on a line with the foundation-rock, seeming 
to grow from their base, as if to defy with it the ravages 



of time and the enemy. On the east, deep ravines, 
fretted by the mountain torrents in their headlong 
course to the Teivy, had insulated it from the surround- 
ing high land. On the west, lay the winding path 
which connected the peaceful village of Kilgarran with 
the castle, and its five ample entrances. Within, ward 
after ward, of various extents, involving the keep and 
nil the state apartments, displayed the massy strength 
and magnificent dimensions of this once-famous for- 
tress. Its history marks the insecurity and vicissitudes 
of a state of society in which right is made to yield to 
the force of arbitrary power. English, Welsh, Norman, 
and Flemish masters, had successively shared in its pos- 
session ; and warriors, of all these tribes, poured from 
its open gates, on expeditions of war and conquest ; or 
had presented their serried and devoted lines in its pro- 
tracted and obstinate defence. All was now hushed. 
These busy and tumultuous generations slept with their 
fathers, and left this scene to be contemplated by a 
solitary traveller, like myself, under the influence of 
feelings and reflections such as these sad memorials 
were peculiarly fitted to inspire. I would say of Kil- 
garran Castle, to the reader, as the northern Magician 
has sung of the celebrated abbey in his native land, in 
these lines : — 

*' If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright. 
Go visit it by the pale moonlight*'* 

Adjoining the little village of Kilgarran was the resi- 

* It is said that the great painter Wilson has introdaced the fine 
eminence on which Kilgarran stands, into his picture of Niobe, and 
the peculiar beauties of this spot into several of his masterly 



dence of the learned Dr. TJiomas Phayer, the translator 
of Virgil's j3Eneid, " a man/' as the antiquary George 
Owen says, '* honoured for his learninge^ commended 
for his govemmente^ and beloved for his pleasante 
natural conceiptes." The scene of Warton's poem of 
King Arthur's Grave is laid in the Castle of Kilgarran^ 
where it is supposed to have been sung by one of the 
Welsh bards to Henry IT., on the occasion of a high 
festival, before that monarch sailed on his expedition 
to Ireland, to suppress the rebellion of the king of 

" Stately the feast, and high the cheer ; 
Crirt with many an arm^d peer, 
And canopied with golden pall, 
Amid CilgaTraD*8 castle hall. 
Sublime in formidable state, 
And warlike splendour, Henry sate." 

Two or three miles from Kilgacran is the pleasant 
village of Kenarth, near which there is a romantic fall 
of the Teivy, forming a salmon-leap, over a ledge of 
rocks of considerable height. From the bridge over 
the noisy stream, is aii interesting though secluded 
panoramic view, comprising the river, a picturesque 
water-mill, and the church and village of Kenarth. 
The bold, dark foreground beautifully reflects itself in 
the shining waters. The gently-swelling hills, gradually 
receding from the sight, mingle their blue summits with 
the sky. The richly- variegated rocks, the quiet green 
paths winding along the river, the clamorous water-fowl 
wheeling about in restless eddies, the retreats of peace- 
ful seclusion, all combine to give to this scene, when 
beheld in the fading light, features of wildi^ess and 



beauty 'which cannot fail to produce a delightful im- 
pression on the mind. 

Evening was beginning to spread her misty veil over 
the Bcene^ as the Wanderer entered the little town of 
Newcastle Emlyn, intending to proceed onwards the 
following morning, and make Carmarthen his temporary 
home for a few days. Newcastle Emlyn is so connected 
with the borough of Adpar, in Cardiganshire, that they 
are usually considered as one town. They stand on 
either side of the Teivy, — ^Newcastle on the south, Adpar 
on the north bank ; and bending with the river, form 
an irregular street about one mile in length. New- 
castle had a Roman origin, as old Camden supposes, 
and was anciently called Dinas Emlyn, or the city ef 
Emlyn ; but took its more recent name from the new 
castle, built by Sir Rhys ap Thomas, upon the site of the 
old fortress.''^ It was evening, as I said, when, follow- 
ing the course of the Teivy, I entered this sequestered 
little place, occupying, as it does, only one of its delight- 
ful banks, and looking with friendly regard upon its 
opposite neighbour, the borough. The sun had sunk 

♦ A Bingnlar piece of treachery and retribniion occurred in connec- 
tion with this place. During a truce between King Henry of England 
and Llewelyn, prince of Wales, commiBsioners were appointed to 
meet at Emlyn, to negotiate a peace. Patrick de Canton, the king's 
lieutenant, while on his journey thither, "learning that his own 
followers were more numerous than those of the Welsh deputies, laid a 
plan for their destruction, and attacked them with great violence while 
they were wholly unsuspicious of hostilities, and unprepared for 
defence. Several of their men were slain, and the chieftains them- 
selves escaped with great difficulty. David, the prince's brother, who 
was at the conference, immediately raised the country, and overtaking 
l*Atrick on his return, dew boUi him and the greater part of bis 


below the horizon with a splendour that belongs to the 
monarch of day. His career through the blue vault 
had been like that of " a bridegroom coming out of his 
chamber/' and the retinue of clouds^ ''in thousand 
liveries dight/' that had attended him to his settings 
clustered in masses of all forms^ at the parting line, 
bathed in the gorgeous hues of his farewell greeting. 
Softly they seemed to dissolve into rivers of light, 
studded with amber islands, or parted by bright head- 
lands of amethyst and jasper. As the hour advanced, 
the blue of the sky became changed to deepening grey, 
and fleecy fragments rolled off from the shifting clouds, 
and were wafted gently and silently, like phantom ves- 
sels, to the extreme verge of those molten streams. 
Creeks, and bays, and shining sands were painted there; 
rocks appeared pile upon pile, fantastic crags, golden 
fields and valleys, with rainbow-coloured boundaries, as 
though the fading pictures of earth had become trans- 
ferred to the glowing heavens, till the robe of night 
almost imperceptibly descended over all thiugs once so 
fair and full of delight. I love the dim twilight of an 
autumn day ; it is the calm season of the tranquil 
spirit. The lingering landscape fades gradually from 
the sight, and as day's last vestige silently departs, the 
mind, withdrawn from the attraction of external objects, 
intuitively looks inward, and takes up the thread of 
thought and reflection, or exercises the memory, or 
draws upon the powers of the imagination. 

"Oh ! Twilight ! Spirit that dost render birth 
To dim eochantments ; melting heaTen with earth ;«— 
Leaving on craggy hillt and running streams 
A softness like the atmosphere of dreams ; 
Thy hour to all is welcome ! " 
F 2 


With the early dawn I surveyed the ruined fortress, of 
which but few^ and those the most picturesque frag- 
ments^ now remain, standing upon an eminence just at 
the point to which the Teivy advances its broad stream, 
and then gracefully curving in one of the most remark- 
able horseshoe bends ever seen, sends forward its refluent 
waters to wander through the green meadows, on its 
way to the sea at Cardigan Bay. 

Leaving the castle and the playful Teivy, I bent my 
steps across the country, over a wild and mountainous 
district, through Cynwyl Elfed, pausing only to visit a 
remarkable cromlech in its neighbourhood. This tract 
presents but little that can claim attention, or interest 
the feeling of the traveller, until within a few miles oi 
Carmarthen; when a scene of remarkable splendour 
bursts unexpectedly upon the delighted sight, compre- 
hending a portion of the vale of the Towey, the Gla- 
morganshire hills, part of the eastern arm of Milford 
Haven, the town and castle of Kidwelly, and a distant 
expanse bounded only by the far horizon. 

Does the traveller desire to see the characteristic 
beauties of this pleasant land combined together, or 
scattered over comparatively but a small space, and 
thus presented almost at once within his reach ? Let 
him take up his pilgrim's staff, and bend his steps, like 
the Wanderer, towards this picturesque county, where 
every diversity of mountain, river, coast, and valley 
scenery awaits him. Although the height of the moun- 
tains is not so great as in North Wales, yet in the 
district round Llyn y Van, Carreg-Uwyd Carnyd, and 
Trichrug, are found scenes which cannot be exceeded 
for romantic grandeur and sublimity. The county is 


watered by many interesting rivers, the chief of which 
is the Towey. It rises in Cardiganshire, and derives 
its first waters from an extensive morass on the hills 
near Tregaron, entering Carmarthenshire at the north- 
eastern extremity. It continues its course southerly to 
Llandovery, where it receives the united current of the 
rivers Bran and Gwdderig. It then runs past Langadoc 
and Llandilo Vawr, receiving many small tributary 
streams from the numerous mountains in this district. 
From Llandilo the Towey pursues its way westerly to 
Carmarthen, passing by and adding to the beauty of 
the scenery around Dynevor, Grongar Hill, Gtolden 
Grove, Middleton Hall, and other places celebrated for 
their sylvan beauties and historic interest. Besides the 
Towey there are other interesting rivers — the Tave, 
rising near the Percelly range ; the Gwendraeth Vawr; 
the Lloughor, having its source in the Black Mountains, 
with many others of smaller size — '' rivers unknown to 

Carmarthen is pleasantly situated at the western ex* 
tremity of the vale of the Towey, and is in some parts 
of considerable elevation, giving it a commanding 
prospect of that river, with the fine stone bridge of 
many arches, that spans it, and the delightful valley 
stretching beyond. If there be a charm which makes 
one spot of earth more than another dear to the eye of 
the traveller, that charm is to be found in the power it 
possesses to call up the recollections of his personal 
history, or to associate his imagination and feelings 
with the events connected with it, in the passages of 
ages long since gone by. In these events are made 
audible the otherwise silent footfalls of Time. The 



chronicler hears the sound, and detects the Ancient in 
his stealthy flight, and before his scythe can perform 
its destructive office, he notes them on his scroll, and 
this becomes history to following generations. And so 
it has been with this interesting place. The Egyptian 
geographer Ptolemy has recorded it as the Maridunum 
of its Roman conquerors ; and Carmarthen was once 
the capital of a district, towards which were conTci^ed 
the two great sections of that famous road, which tra- 
versed coast and mountain, called the Strata Julia. 
The pleasant sights and peaceful tracts that now detain 
the traveller's lingering steps, beheld the march of 
those mingled legions of haughty Rome, as they tra- 
versed, in warlike array, this region to camp or city, 
and from one line of conquest to another. But the 
period of Roman domination passed away, and Oiraldus 
relates, that it was a place of great strength in the 
times of its native rulers, and fortified with towers and 
high brick walls, the remains of which are now very 
inconsiderable, though there are still many traces of 
the ruins near the river. The county gaol is built on 
the foundation of the old castle, of which tradition has 
handed to posterity but a scanty account. It is known, 
however, to have been the seat of the princes of the 
country, before the royal residence was transferred to 
Dinevaur; and in this place the ancient Britons held 
their parliament. Both the castle and the town have 
undergone the usual changes that belong to ages of 
violence and disputed possession, and in their vicissi- 
tudes have been besieged, destroyed, and again rebuilt. 
Lambarde tells a stoiy, in connection with this neigh- 
bourhood, which strongly exhibits the attachment of 


the natives to their country^ and the difficulty their in- 
vaders found in obtaining possession of it. '* Henry 11./' 
he says^ '' havinge taken Rese Griffin Prisonner^ a litle 
from Carmardin^ sent a Knighte of Normanny, accom* 
panied with the Deane of Cantermaur, to view the 
Castle of Dinevor and the country about it, meaninge, 
upon understandinge of the same, to have invaded that 
hole quarter. The Deane (beinge a Welcheman, called 
Guaidhamus) more lovingely to his Countrymen, then 
loyally to his Prince, conducted the Gentlemen throughe 
the most roughe, hyllye, and inaccessible places that he 
knewe, and when they wanted whereof to eate, he 
would lye downe, and fede on the Grass hungerley, 
sayinge, that ' his Countrymen had, for the most part, 
none other Foode -, * and thus, by Penurye and Travaile 
so wearyed the Knighte, that at his Retome he told 
the Kinge that ' the Countrye was more fitt for Beastes 
than Men, and not worthie the Charge of a Conquest.' 
The Kinge belevinge him, toke Rese Griffin's Homage, 
and sent him home without further Attempt against 
his Countrye.'' 

The church of St. Peter contains some singular and 
interesting monuments. The grotesque female figure 
kneeling on the south side of the chancel, by the aid 
of its quaint inscription, tells the beholder the story of 
extensive benevolence, and satisfies at the same time 
his curiosity, by describing the subject as 

"A choice Elizar of Mortalitie, 

• • • • 

Who by her loanes in spit of Aduene &te8y 
She did preeerue Mens peraone and EsUtes ; 
Would yoa then knoi^ who wen this good Womiui,. 
Twas virtuous Aknb the Lndj VAUOUAy.'* 



Opposite to this excellent woman lie the recumbent 
figures of Sir Bhys ap Thomas and liis lady. The 
gallant knight^ clothed in a suit of plate armour^ with 
the insignia of his order, and the emblazonry of family 
honours; and his lady in the modest costume of the 
age in which she livedo with an emblematic dove at her 

The traveller who looks upon these effigies in crum- 
bling stone^ now mutilated almost to obliteration, and 
calls to mind the stormy period in which the beings 
they are intended to represent once flourished, will not 
fail to rest his eye, with some interest, upon the subse^ 
quent pages, in which the Wanderer proposes to lay 
before him the curious and surprising incidents of the 
personal history of this warrior and his family, and 
their connection with the important events at that time 
occurring in South Wales. 

At the western suburb of the town is a monument 
commemorating the gallant deeds of Sir Thomas Picton,* 

* ** Li6ut«nant-General Sir Thomaa Ficton, G.C.B., memorable in 
the Peninsular campaign as the leader of what was pre-eminently 
called tfie Jfyhting division, was known by the appellation of the righi 
hand of Wellington. He received his death-wound in tho daring 
enterprise of leading a charge of infantry against a solid square of 
French cavalry ; an enterprise scarcely before attempted, except by 
Picton himself, who had more than once successfully executed it in the 
Peninsuk. The duke of Wellington, in his despatch, passes a just 
eulogium on his worth. As soon as our army was sent to Flanders>» 
government, it is stated, offered him the command of a division, but 
apprehending the duke of Wellington, as commander-in-chief, would 
leave the British force to some officer in whom he could not repose the 
same confidence, he declined the offer, adding, however, if the duke 
should personally require his servieesi, he would instantly repair to the 
armv. This requisition was made, and the general left the town on 
Jooe the 11th, and oo the 18th, terminated his honourable carctr in 


who was killed at the battle of Waterloo. It was 
erected from a meagre and unsatisfactory design pre- 
sented by Mr. Nash. On a square pedestal rises a 
Doric column, at the top of which is a statue of 
the general. On two sides of the pedestal were in* 
scriptions, and on the others basso-relievos of the en* 
gagements at Waterloo and Badajoz, but so carelessly 
were they executed, that the weather has already almost 
defaced them. In 1829, the Rev. Edward Picton pre- 
sented to the county a portrait of his brother, painted 
by the president of the Royal Academy, which is now 
suspended in the Orand Jury Room of the County Hall. 
From Carmarthen to Llandilo (a distance of about 
fifteen miles) there are two roads, which run nearly 
parallel with the Towey, and on either side that river, 
along each of which are many objects of great attrac* 
tion and interest for the antiquary and lover of nature. 
I determined first to examine the north or upper road, 
and see the hoary ruins of Dryslyn Castle — Orongar 
Hill, over which the poet Dyer has thrown such a halo 
of pleasant and quiet feeling, — ^the ancient royal for- 
tress and park of Dynevor, making Llandilo my resting- 
place for a few days, and returning by the lower road 
through Golden Grove to Carmarthen. 

the field of glory ! He had made his will before his deparfcare— he did 
not expect to return ; bat observed to a friend, that when he heard of 
his death, he would hear of a bloody day. The following pleasing trait 
in his character may be relied on : — Some time after relinquishing the 
government of Trinidad, the inhabitants voted him £5,000 as a testi- 
mony of their esteem. When a dreadful fire laid the capital in ashes 
at a subsequent period, a subscription was opened for the relief of the 
sufferers, and the general eagerly seized the opportunity of appro* 
priating the £5,000 to that object." 



On leaving Carmarthen^ on the opposite side of the 
Towey^ stands Llangunnor Uill^ below which is seen a 
farm-house^ called Ty Gwyn (the white house), and is 
that in which Sir Richard Steele* lived for many years, 
and wrote several essays and dramatic pieces. It is 
situated in the centre of the small estate he inherited 
from the Sherlock family. After his profusion and 
improvidence in the metropolis, and the consequent 
embarrassments he experienced, he lived here in com- 
parative seclusion, intending, by economy and the ex- 
ertion of his literary powers, to acquire a sufficient 
income to liquidate the debts contracted by his former 
extravagance, and maintain with credit his rank in 
society. This amiable and eminent man, towards the 

* Many humoroaa anecdotes ai*e related of Sir Richard, which 
throw 10016 light upon his habits and character. Sending one morning 
for Savage, the poet, without any previous conversation, he requested 
him to step into his carriage, and was followed by Sir Richard, when 
the coachman drove to a small tavern near Hyde Park Comer. Sir 
Richard then informed him that he intended to publish a pamphlet, and 
wished him to write while he dictated. After dining they again pro- 
ceeded with the pamphlet, which was finished in the evening, when 
Savage expected Sir Richard would call for the reckoning, and return 
Iiome. How was he surprised, when informed that the pamphlet must 
be sold before the dinner could be paid for ! and Savage was, therefore, 
obliged to go and offer the production for sale, and procured two 
guineas for it. Sir Richard then returned home, having retired for the 
day to avoid his creditors. On another occasion. Sir Richard having 
invited a party to dinner, his visitors were surprised at the number of 
liveries which surrounded the table ; after dinner, one of them inquiring 
how such an extensive train of domestics could be consistent with his 
fortune. Sir Richard frankly confessed they were fellows of whom he 
would very willingly be rid— that they were bailiffs ; and since he could 
not send them away, he had thought it convenieut to embellisii them 
with liveries. 


end of his life, was carried by two servants, in an open 
chair, about the neighbourhood. 

Two miles on the road is the village of Abergwilli. 
It was at this place that the good Prince Llewelyn 
fought an obstinate battle with Rhun, an adventurer 
from Scotland, calling himself the son of Prince Mere- 
dith. The adventurer ranged his troops in order of 
battle, and exhorted them to courage and constancy, 
but withdrew privately during the contest to a place of 
safety where he might watch the event. The brave 
prince, on the contrary, was seen wherever the battle 
raged the most fiercely, and by his valour achieved a 
victory, in which his enemy was slain, notwithstanding 
his efforts to escape. 

Near to the village, and just at that point where a 
most romantic bend of the Towey washes the margin 
of the lawn, stands the episcopal palace belonging to 
the Bishop of Saint David's, commanding a view of this 
majestic river in its refluent meanderings up the vale, 
before it resumes its onward course towards the sea. 
The Towey, when it leaves its early mountain -track, 
and receives the united streams of the Bran and 
Gwdderig, seems to revel with its accumulated waters 
through the rich valley that bears its name; at one 
time rolling in an impetuous headlong torrent, and 
then circling with a gentle current almost from side to 
side, as if to lave some favoured spot, or to expend its 
joy in sportive gambols, separating as it flows the whole 
extent into distinct portions of great beauty. About 
a mile beyond Abergwilli is one of these little dells, 
through which a clear and nameless stream pursues its 


220 merlin's hill. 

way from the hills to bury itself in the channel of the 
river. On the western side of this little dell an emi- 
nence rises, called Merlin's Hill, which tradition has 
assigned as the birthplace of this extraordinary man ; 
near the brow is an opening in the rocks, which the 
country people still credulously show as the place in 
which the seer practised his incantations. 

" For he by wordea could call out of the aVj 
Both suune aod moone, and make them him obey ; 
The land to sea^ and sea to maineland dry. 
And darkaom night he eke could turn to day ; 
Huge hostes of men he could alone dismay, 
And hostes of men of meanest things could frame, 
Whenso him list his enemies to pay : 
That to this day, for terror of his fame, 
The feendea do quake when any him to them does name." 

Ascending the hill yet higher, an extensive view presents 
itself of the vale as far as the hill above Llanarthney. 

The birth and life of Merlin, " surnamed Ambrosius,'* 
as may be supposed, is full of mystery. His mother 
was a royal virgin, the daughter of King Demetius, 
and, according to her confession, the prophet was 
"conceived by the compression of some fantastical 
spiritual creature." This, however, is considered only 
a fiction raised by her woman's wit, " to conceal the 
person of her sweetheart," whose life would have been 
endangered by a revelation of the truth. He was 
brought forth from his obscurity by the profligate King 
Vortigern, when he was purposing to build a castle to 
protect him from his enraged subjects ; but in which 
design he had been continually thwarted by prodigies 
of various kinds. The king, by the aid of his seer, at 
last accomplished his purpose. The castle was built. 

MERLIN. 221 

and here tlie monarch is said to have dwelt in seclusion^ 
" diverted by the many pleasant fancies^' which Merlin 
devised to drive away his melancholy. But when the 
king's fate drew nigh. Merlin found means to escape 
from the devoted fortress, became a good Christian, and 
foreshowed truly many things to come. Among other 
events in which the ancient seer is concerned, he is 
said to have brought '^the great stones which stand 
till this day on the plain of Salisbury, during one 
stormy night from Ireland, and caused them to be 
placed there in remembrance of tlie British lords who 
were slain on that spot." Merlin was destined, not- 
withstanding his supernatural powers, to be the subject 
of human sympathies, and to endure some of the dis- 
appointments that arise out of them. He fell in love 
with the ''Lady of the Lake;" but "she was ever 
passing weary of him, and fain would have been 
delivered of him." The prophet followed his mistress 
into Brittany, where, as the tradition goes, he was 
enchanted into a white-thorn bush, in the forest of 
Breceliande, by the arts "which, in a moment of weak- 
ness, he had disclosed to her. His grave is said to be 
close by the fairy fountain of Baranton. In the words 
of the Gaulish chronicle, " Lk dort le vieux Druide, 
au murmure des eaux et du vent qui gemit dans les 
bruyeres d'alentour." 

Passing on two miles further I reached Pont ar 
Cothy, which extensive stream, rising in the north- 
eastern limits of the county, forms a junction with the 
Towey about a mile below the bridge. The antiquarian 
will find subjects for his research in this neighbourhood, 
amongst the remains of an old castle, on an elevated 


part of the western bank of the Cothy^ within tvro 
miles of the road to Llandilo^ and of another fortress^ 
three miles beyond this^ on the eastern side of the 

It was early mornings and the sun had just emerged 
from his cloudy pavilion^ when I started from Carmar- 
then to explore the abundant beauties of the district of 
the Towey. It was now noon, and that great luminary 
was on his southern track, but attended by such a 
retinue of turbid and ever-shifting clouds, as made me 
apprehend a fearful thunderstorm. I therefoi^ hastened 
onwards by Llanegwad, passing close to the river where 
it bends in terpentine evolutions amidst the luxuriant 
pastureJaud at Wern-ddu. Opposite to this place, 
looking over the Towey, rises Nelson's Tower, erected 
by Sir William Paxton, to commemorate the victory 
and death of that hero, and which forms one of the 
most conspicuous points in the vale. I now struck off 
from the main road, and turning to the right reached 
Felindre, and crossing the Dulas, a little tributary 
stream, came to Dryslyn Castle. The ruins of this 
ancient stronghold are situated on a bold green emi-> 
nence, which rises like an island in the midst of a wide 
opening in the valley, and overhangs the western shore 
of the Towey. Fx^om the summit of these ruins is one 
of the finest prospects in the vale, extending to the 
eastward eight or ten miles, and they themselves form 
an interesting object when viewed from the surrounding 

Dryslyn Castle once occupied a large space of ground, 
but its remains are now very inconsiderable, comprising 
only some fragments of the walls, and a part of one of 


the towers. It was erected by a prince of the house 
of Dynevor^ and was amongst the last of the possessions 
which that family was permitted to retain. In former 
times it must have been surrounded by a wild and 
savage tract of country; for Leland, in speculating 
upon its etymology, writes, '' Dryslan, as I learned, is 
as much as to say, a place ful of difficulte and encum* 
brance to passe through.^' This hoary castle has heard 
in the ''olden tymes'' the song of minstrelsy within 
its ancient halls, and beleaguering hosts have set them- 
selves down before its gates in deadly array. Near the 
spot where I stood, during the rebellion of Rhys ap 
Meredith, in the time of Edward I., its massy wall had 
given way from the operations of a secret mine, and 
buried in its fall the besieging generals, Stafford and 
Monchency, with many of their oflScers, The storm 
that I had feared, or anticipated, had now passed 
unbroken away. The clouds which had dogged the 
sun in its course had been dissipated, or drawn off like 
a retiring host to a distant part of the heavens, and, as 
I left the ruined castle, the sun again shone forth with 
increased splendour. 

The foot-track to the eastward led me over the rising 
ground by Pentre Bach, a few hundred yards beyond 
which rises the side of Grongar Hill. This celebrated 
place is much indebted both to history and poetry for 
the fame which it has so long enjoyed, and for the 
charm that still rests upon it. On its summit there 
have been traced, in later years, vestiges of a Roman 
encampment, with the usual rectangular intrenched 
ai^ea, which old Leland saw in his time, and which he 
describes -with liis usual minuteness and simplicity. 



" Ther is/' he says, " within halfe a myle of Drislan 
Castel on Tewe, a mightye campe of men of Warre, 
with 4 or 5 diches, and an area in the middle/' But 
Grongar Hill, like the Man of Ross, is indebted princi- 
pally to the force of friendship and the ferrour of poetry 
for the interest it has so long enjoyed. Who has not 
connected with the earliest associations of his mind the 
beauties with which the pen of Dyer* has invested it, 
and cherished amongst his most ardent anticipations, 
the impassioned desire to make a pilgrimage to this 
delightful spot ? 

"Grongar Hill invites my song, 
Draw ibe landscape bright and strong: 
Grongar, in whose mossy cells, 
Sweetly musing, Quiet dwells; 
Grongar, in whose silent shade. 
For the modest Muses made, 
So oft I have, the evening still. 
At the fountain of a rill, 
Sat upon a flow'ry bed. 
With my hand beneath my head. 
While strayed my eyes o'er Towey's flood. 
Over mead and over wood." 

I descended the hill, and bade adieu both to the 
historian and the poet, as the sun's last rays were 
resting on the opposite eminence above Golden Grove. 
For awhile he seemed to hang his shining orb on ita 
highest pinnacles, as if to bid a glorious farewell to the 

* Dyer was bom at the mansion called Aberglasney, on the estate, 
in 1700, and was educated for the profession of the law : but after the 
death of his father he became a pupil of Bichardson, an eminent 
artist of that day, and went to Rome for improvement in his art. 
Afterwards he relinquished painting, studied for the Cliurch, and 
procured the livings of Coningsley and Kirkby, in Leicestershire. 


hemisphere he was about to leave, and then withdrew, 
leaving the refractions of his brightness to fringe the 
mountain- peaks of Llangathan, and to spread a line of 
light along the surrounding ridge. The misty shades 
of evening were gathering around me when I gained 
the high road about three miles from Llandilo Vawr. 
It was not long ere I reached this little town, and took 
up my quarters at the Cawdor Arms. In its excellent 
accommodations, and at its bountiful table, I refr^hed 
myself, after a day of more than usual fatigue and 
pleasure, intending to make my visit to the grounds of 
Dynevor on the following morning, and to spend 
another day in exploring those dreary mountains, 
among which Carreg Cennen Castle rears its towering 
head; afterwards to return to Carmarthen along the 
vale, by the southern road, taking Golden Orove, and 
other objects of interest, in my way. 

Llandilo Vawr is a picturesque little place, occupy- 
ing the sloping sides of a hill, the ridge of which is the 
centre of the town, and the main road through it. It 
is built close to the edge of Dynevor Park, and just 
above the Towey, which here makes one of its capri- 
cious evolutions amongst the luxuriant meadows around. 
The river is crossed on the southern road by a substan- 
tial bridge, erected by the well-known Welsh architect 
David Edwards. The country round Llandilo abounds 
with so many objects to interest the tourist, that it 
ought to be made his rendezvous for a few days :* and 

* To those who can spare only one day, I would recommend the 
following ezonrsion from Llandilo : — through Dynevor Park to the old 
castle ; Llangathan Mountain, above Grongar Hill ; Dryslyn Castle ; 
then cross the river at the ferry to Nelson's Tower, and return through 
Golden Grove. 




since tlie Cawdor Arms has been established, there is 
no lack of excellent accommodation, even for the most 
fastidious. To the angler this place affords abundant 
sport, from the salmon and trout fishing to be found in 
the Towey, and in several small streams around. It is 
the best point, also, from which to make excursions to 
the romantic scenery in the mountainous districts about 
Carreg Cennen, and along the rich and quiet retreats 
that form the most attractive beauties of the vale. 

Llandilo Yawr is not without its historical interest, 
for Caradoc mentions that the decisive battle between 
the armies of Edward I. and Prince Llewelyn, which 
subjected Wales to the sovereignty of England, was 
fought near this town, in 1282. On this occasion the 
king's forces were commanded by the earl of Gloucester 
and Sir Edmund Mortimer, who achieved the victory 
at a great sacrifice of life. 

The following morning was unusually fine, and the 
air delightfully fresh and invigorating. The overhang- 
ing mist lay stretched like a sleepy covering on the 
valley, while the distant hills were already lighted up 
with the bright rays of the god of day. Nature 
seemed astir in those elevated regions; in the valley 
she seemed to slumber with the sluggard's wish. Who 
would not choose to have his foot on those mountains, 
''to be,*' as Jeremy Taylor says, "a courtier of the 
sun, to dwell in his eye, and look in his face, and wait 
npon him in his chambers of the east ?" I entered 
Dynevor Park by the little gate beside the main 
entrance, accompanied by an intelligent guide ac-> 
quainted with the neighbouring localities. On pro- 
ceeding only a few yards to an elevated part of the 


grounds^ a scene of surprising beauty seemed to burst 
upon tbe sight. The green and sloping lawns^ studded 
with stately trees^ dressed in coloured foliage^ appeared 
to swell and extend before the eye. Afar the tower of 
the castle reared its hoary head above the dark mass of 
tall oaks by which it was surrounded^ and with which 
it beautifully harmonized. Just opposite^ glowing in 
lights stood Golden Grove. As the morning advanced^ 
the fertile valley^ radiant with sunshine, revealing the 
clear, playful waters of the silver Towey, stretched right 
onward, while the mountain-ridges, far, far away, closed 
the wonderful scene. Directed by the guide, I bent 
my steps a few hundred yards to the left, towards an 
eminence called Venland Vawr, on which two groups of 
tall firs stand conspicuous, protecting the visitor from 
the heat of the sun, and affording by their shade the 
opportunity of quietly surveying the surrounding land* 
scape. With the exception of the view from the Deer 
Park, the prospects from this place are amongst the 
finest which the valley affords. 

Standing on this spot, which nearly bisects the vale, 
the view to the north-east, looking up the stream, ex- 
tends over the district of Llangadock almost to Llan- 
dovery, comprehending in' its more easterly range the 
high black mountain of Trichrug. Towards the south 
rise the hills around Carreg Cennen Castle, and the 
towering summits of Mynydd Du. Below is the ever- 
fresh and rolling river, from the banks of which spreads 
the domain of Gt>lden Grove, stretched as in a map 
before the sight. 

Pursuing my way towards the castle, I passed a deep 
dingle covered with immense trees and underwood^ ren- 

Q 2 


dercd almost transparent by the powerful rays of the 
sun which played upon it. A little beyond, near the 
junction of two winding roads, from almost opposite 
directions, an interesting and delightful landscape pre- 
sents itself; and, again and again, as I followed out the 
path, new and fresh combinations of natural beauty 
became evolved from the rich and varied elements so 
prodigally flung around this favoured place. Diverging 
o the left, I passed through a kind of avenue of full- 
^own ash, which leads to the mouldering ruins of this 
once-splendid residence, now embosomed in aged trees, 
that seem to claim an ancestry coeval with the fortress 

The remains of the royal Castle of Dynevor are 
considerable; one large tower, and some of the walls, 
continue almost entire. From the most authentic 
accounts, the castle was circular in its form, and fortified 
with a double moat and rampart, and appears to have 
been erected in 877, by Roderique the Great, and was 
in the possession of Rhys ap Theodore, who probably 
extended its site in the reign of William the Conqueror. 
Giraldus mentions this fortress in his Itinerary, as " the 
principal palaice of South Wales, standinge on the 
toppe of a hyll in Cantermawr.'* Soon after his time 
it was greatly damaged ; but, being rebuilt and forti- 
fied, it became the seat of the princes of the country. 
It was besieged by the forces of Henry I., in 1226; a 
sanguinary contest took place, and he was repulsed, 
with the loss of two thousand men, by Prince Llewelyn. 
It was alternately held by opposing belligerent parties^ 
but was finally demolished in the civil wars, and its 
ruins granted by Henry VII. to Sir Rhys ap Thomas, 


a descendant of the Welsh princes^ and ancestor of the 
present possessor of the estate^ to whom he was so 
much indebted for his recovery of the crown of Eng- 
land. Here^ in the reign of its ancient princes^ the 
bards used to assemble to keep their triennial festival 
of the Eisteddfod. 

I ascended what was once the round tower, built 
over a tremendous precipice on the south-east, and 
which formed one of the angles of the castle wall. 
From its topmost height I beheld a prospect the most 
varied, luxuriant, and enchanting, that the eye ever 
ranged over. The rich woods of oak and chestnut, 
clothing the precipitous descent of the castellated hill, 
down to the water's edge, and the valley stretching off 
from its base, arrayed in green and gold of the loveliest 
hues, intersected and enlivened by the sportive mean- 
derings of the river. Within reach of the vision were 
comprehended all of hill or valley scenery ; the bleak 
mountain- summits, rarely trodden except by the soli- 
tary foot of the curious traveller; and the verdant 
tranquil pastures, teeming with life and plenty; with 
here and there those distinguished spots which history 
and poetry have combined to invest with an earthly 
immortality. Dynevor will afford a day's enjoyment — 
''a summer's day," — as Yorick says, 

" From morn to dewy eve." 

^ And so it did to the Wanderer, who lingered amongst 

'' its beauties, till the young moon lighted his steps home- 

^' wards to mine host's of the Cawdor Arms. 
^ To the south-east of Llandilo Vawr, in the most 

^ bleak and inhospitable district of South Wales, sur- 


rounded by a chain of almost inaccessible mountains^ 
stands Carreg Cennen Castle. Behind this barrier of 
everlasting hills, are deep wide valleys, in the lowest 
channel of which the Cennen rolls its stream, after 
rain, with the headlong fury of a mountain toirent. 
From the edge of this stream rises an insulated and 
almost perpendicular peak, on the summit of which, 
covering the whole extent, firown the black ruins of this 
stronghold of feudal power, accessible only on one side. 
The castle is said to owe its erection to one of the 
lords of Is Cennen, a knight of King Arthur's Bound 
Table. Its strong and simple masonry assigns it to an 
earlier origin, and its present remains exhibit its ample 
arrangements and impregnable strength. Caradoc, the 
Welsh chronicler, relates that it was once delivered 
up to the English, by the mother of Rhys Yechan, out 
of dislike to her son, but was afterwards retaken by 
him. There is a winding cave bored through the solid 
rock, which descends by the northern edge to the depth 
of one hundred and fifty feet, at the bottom of which 
was a well, intended formerly to furnish water to the 
garrison. From this elevated precipice the eye com- 
mands a prospect of prodigious extent, comprehending 
a large reach of the finest part of the vale of the 
Towey, the vale of Llangyndeirn, with the ocean in the 
distance, and the vale of Llandybie, with a consider- 
able portion of the vale of Llaughor beyond it. 

It was with the first rays of the morning sun that I 
commenced my walk to Carreg Cennen Castle; and 
before the inhabitants of the little town I had left, had 
resumed the busy occupations of the day, I had plunged 
deep into the wild cwms that separate the mountain* 


range connected with the Trichrug from the remark- 
able fortress to which I was pursuing my way. After 
surveying all the wonders which I have already de- 
scribed to the reader^ I set my face again towards that 
" river of romance/' whose picturesque shores had so 
long attracted my vagrant steps. My next resting- 
place was in the refreshing shades of Golden Orove^ 
one of the seats of Lord Cawdor. In the time of the 
Civil Wars between Charles I. and his Parliament, 
Cromwell, in his way to besiege Pembroke Castle, came 
suddenly across the country with a troop of horse, to 
seize the person of the royalist earl, who fortunately 
had received notice of his approach, and escaped in 
time to a sequestered farm-house amongst the hills, 
and thus avoided being taken. The Protector, disap- 
pointed in his purpose, dined with the countess, and 
afterwards pursued his march to Pembroke. 

The former house, belonging to the family of the 
Vaughans, was seated near the banks of the Towey ; 
but the new one, built by the present proprietor, is 
erected in the centre of the estate, commanding the 
sweep of the green lawn in front, the meadows which 
fringe it on the north to the river's brink, and the grey 
tower of old Dynevor, — on the west, the graceful line 
of Grongar HiU. This place will ever be associated in 
the mind of the English reader with the remembrance 
of that excellent man, Jeremy Taylor. Here he so»ight 
shelter during the period of Cromwell's ascendancy,'^ 

* At the commenoement of this straggle, Taylor joined the king at 
Oxford, and dedicated his time and pen to his serrice. Preriously 
to the termination of Charles's misfortunes, Taylor received from him, 
in tokeivof his regard, his watch, and a few pearls and rubies, which 



and in this place he compoeed many of his Taluable 
works of practical devotion, one of which bears the 
title of Qolden Grove. This book has some poetical 
pieces which strikingly illustrate the sparkling richness 
of the author's mind. His '' Meditation on Heaven" 
contains this luxuriant passage : — 

"That bright eternity, 
Where the great King's traasparent throno 
la of an entire jaspar stone ; 

There the eje 

0' the chrysolite 

And a sky 
Of diamonds, rubies, and ehiytopraa^ 
And above all, Thy holy tt^e, 

Make an eternal clarity. 
When Thon Thy jewels dost bind up, that day 

Bemember us, we pray, 
niat where the beryl lies 
And the crystal 'bove the skies, 
There Thou mayst appoint us a place 
Within the brightness of Thy fiice ; 

And our soul 

In the scroll 
Of life and blissfulness enrol, 
That we may praise Thee to eternity." 

Dr. Rust^ his biographer, thus describes him, when 
he was called upon to supply, for a time, the place of 
lecturer at St. Paul's Cathedral. " Here he preached," 
says Rust, *' to the admiration and astonishment of his 
auditory, and by his florid and youthful beauty, and 

had ornamented the ebony case in which he kept his bible. He 
suffered much, and was several times imprisoned during the Protec- 
torate of Cromwell ; but at the Itestoration, the smile of royal favour 
played upon him, and he became Mucoessively bishop of Down and 
Connor, chancellor of the Uniyersity of Dublin, and member of the 
Irish privy oouncil. 


sweet and pleasant air^ and sublime and raised dis- 
courses^ he made his hearers take him for some young 
angel newly descended from the visions of glory." 

In the following eulogium^ the same biographer sums 
up his character, after the close of his career in death : 
— ''Nature/' says he, ''had befriended him much in 
his constitution ; for he was a person of a most sweet 
and obliging humour, of great candour and ingenuity ; 
and there was so much of salt and fineness of wit, and 
prettiness of address in his familiar discourses, as made 
his conversation have all the pleasantness of a comedy, 
and all the usefulness of a sermon ; his soul was made 
up of harmony, and he never spake but he charmed his 
hearers, not only with the clearness of his reason, but 
all his words, and his very tones and cadences, were 
strangely musical." 

It was drawing towards the close of the day when 
I reached Kidwelly, a little town once rivalling the 
port of Carmarthen, but now much lessened and 
reduced, standing on both sides of the lesser Owen- 
draeth, which is here crossed by a handsome stone 
bridge. The castle, which occupies a bold rocky emi- 
nence on the western side of the Gwendraeth Fach, 
forms the object of greatest interest to the traveller. 
There is an air of solemn magnificence in the appear- 
ance of this edifice, and its remains are, perhaps, in a 
more perfect state than those of any similar structure 
in the Principality. The strength of this fortress 
corresponded with the important part it sustained in 
the perpetual conflicts which marked the early history 
of the country. The massy walls which inclosed its 
square area were not only fortified by strong angular 



towen^ bat also at measured intervals by lesser ones^ 
by means of which its defenders could readily com- 
municate assistance to each other^ or interrupt any 
temporary success on the part of its besiegers. Its 
magnificent gateway to the west was protected and 
ornamented by two lofty round towers^ which are still 
in tolerable preservation. This castle was built b} 
King John, but was repaired and strengthened by the 
Norman adventurer William de Londres. It after- 
wards changed possessors with the various dominant 
masters of this unhappy country, during its state of 
feudal government and civil warfare. It fell into the 
possession of the famous Sir Rhys ap Thomas, in the 
time of Henry YII., and was finally devised to Lord 
Cawdor by one of the family of the Yaaghans^ of 
Golden Grove. 


Planiag. — Sioce yon are tongue-tied, and so loth to epeak, 
In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts; 
Let him that is a true-born gentleman. 
And stands upon the honour of his bii-th. 
If he suppose that I have pleaded truth, 
From off this briar pluck a white rose with me. 

Som. — Let him that is no ooward, nor no flatterer. 
But dare maintain the party of the truth. 
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me. 

Wctr, — ^I love no colours, and, without all colour 
Of base insinuating flattery, 
I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet. 

5tt/.— I pluck this red rose with young Somerset, 
And say, withal I think, he held the right.— Shaksfeabb. 

Henry Y. of England^ or^ as he was called in his 
youth^ Harry of Moumouthj had finished a brilliant 
career of military achievements at the Castle of Vin* 
cennes^ in France^ and the sceptre of Britain passed 
from the hands of one of its bravest and most vigorous 
princes into those of his baby successor. The im- 
becility of the child was followed by the incapacity of 
the man; and the reign of Henry VI. gave rise to 
that ferocious civil contest^ known best by the name 
of the War of the White and Bed Hoses. It was in 


236 SIR anrs af thomjis. 

the wild mountai ib of Wales that the White Bofle, the 
emblem of the House of York, first badded, and after- 
wards became the signal of victory in the sanguinary 
and well-fought fields of St. Albans, Northampton, 
Mortimer's Cross, and on the plains of Towton. 

At this time, Gruffydd ap Nicholas (whose descend- 
ants became at a subsequent period the lords of Aber- 
marlais, in Carmarthenshire) exercised great power 
and influence in the southern division of the Princi- 
pality. Ambitious, turbulent, and crafty, he was well 
fitted to play a conspicuous part in the stirring times 
in which he lived. Too choleric to be long at peace 
with his powerful neighbours, he was alternately 
engaged in deadly feuds with the leaders and adherents 
of both the contending parties that disturbed the 
empire. Consistent and unremitting only in his hatred 
to the English, he permitted his retainers to conmiit 
continual depredations upon the possessions of the 
Lords Marchers, and to pillage their lands. The 
injury thus inflicted upon the English borders was too 
great and frequent to pass unnoticed, and in one of 
those occasional pauses in this nge of civil strife, — the 
quietness of exhaustion rather than the repose of peace, 
— Gruflydd was cited before the king's court, to 
answer for his violence and contumacy, and Lord 
Whitney and other commissioners were sent into 
Wales to investigate his conduct. Grufl'ydd, who had 
heard of the commission, but was not fully informed 
of its objects, laid his plans with the craftiness, and 
executed them with the boldness, peculiar to his 
character. He contrived to dissipate any fears which 
the commissioners might have entertained from his 


formidable power, by meeting them on their entry into 

Carmarthenshire, himself meanly dressed, and accom- j 

panied only by four or five attendants " raggedlie 

attired,'^ and as miserably mounted. Right glad was | 

Lord Whitney to find the truculent Welshman, as he 

thought, then in his power, and not a little astonished 

was he also to hear him, with apparent affability and 

confidence, offer his services to conduct the commis- i 

sioners to Carmarthen, the place of their destination. 

The party moved forward in high glee, each speculating 

with secret satisfaction upon his success, and conversing 

with that ease and volubility which belongs naturally 

to persons so well content with themselves. 

Their road followed the windings of the Bran as far 
as the little town of Llandovery, near which that river 
unites with the Gwydderig in its confluence with the 
Towey. On the western bank, situate on a rocky emi- 
nence, the castle looked over the whole extent of the 
romantic vale of the Bran. The united waters of these 
celebrated streams formed then, as now, that majestic 
river which is the glory of this part of the Principality. 
The English lord, and the commissioners in their 
official array, followed by the humble Welshman, with 
his tattered attendants, crossed the river by the fine 
stone bridge a little below the town, and pushed 
forward in a brisk trot towards the princely mansion of 

The thick woods that lined the shores of the Towey 
completely hid the towers of the castle from the view 
of the approaching party. A graceful curving of the ! 

road, however, brought them unexpectedly to the foot 
of the gentle eminence on which it stood. Grufiydd^ 


as it was into a formidable company by the two sons of 
Gruffycld with their mountain retainers. The road 
hitherto had run along the base of that mountainous 
ridge which lines the northern side of the Towey, 
almost from Llandovery to Carmarthen^ until it reaches 
that bright open plain^ where the Gwilli forms its 
junction with that river^ giving its signiKcant title to 
the little village of Abergwilli. The party had scarcely 
debouched into the plain, before it was met by a splen- 
did body-guard of five hundred "tall men'* on foot, 
handsomely dressed, and well armed and accoutred, 
under the command of the elder son of Grufiydd. 

Thus magnificently attended, the commissioners 
entered Carmarthen, then the capital of South Wales, 
and were conducted with the greatest ceremony to the 
sumptuous lodgings that had been prepared for them. 
Grufiydd now excused his further presence upon the 
commissioners, and committed to his sons the care of 
seeing to their accommodation, and of attending upon 
them to the banquet that was prepared in the Guild 
Hall of the town. 

Lord Whitney was not displeased to escape the keen 
observation of his companion, and finding himself now 
more at ease, privately sent for the mayor and sherifis, 
and, opening to them the commission with which he 
was charged by the king, demanded their assistance to 
arrest Grufiydd, which it was agreed should be done on 
the following morning. The banquet was now prepared, 
and the commissioners were escorted with much pomp 
by the sons of Grufiydd, attended by their men-at- 
aims, to the hall. The tables had been arranged along 
the centre of the floor, and according to the archi- 


lecture of these times^ a row of pillars^ with grotesque* 
fanciful carvings separated the upper end of the room^ 
which was slightly elevated^ and which was usually set 
apart for the most distinguished guests. To a seat 
purposely placed here^ and splendidly hung with cloth 
of goldj Owen conducted Lord Whitney^ and took his 
station immediately on his right. On each side of this 
elevated part of the spacious haU^ galleries had been 
raised^ in which were placed the ancient bards of that 
land of minstrelsy. The guests betook themselves with 
right good will to dispense the cheer which had been 
sumptously provided^ according to the profuse hospi- 
tality which then prevailed. Owen plied his noble guest, 
during supper, with those sweet-spiced liquors which 
formed no inconsiderable part of the domestic expense 
of the nobles, the mixture of which was an art derived 
principally firom the French, and was greatly esteemed 
by our ancestors in the fourteenth and fifteenth 

"There was eke wexing many a spice 
As dowe, gilofire, and licorice, 
GiDgibir, and grean de Paris, 
Canell at setewale of pris. 
And many a spice delitable 
To eaten whan men rise fro table." 

Ypocras and garhiofilac, as bring the most prised at 
this period, with other " delicate and precious drinks,'' 
were lavishly distributed on this occasion, and served 
not a little to produce in the English commissioners a 
state of convivial carelessness and hilarity. Owen was 
prepared to take advantage of this, and observing that 
Lord Whitney had put the commission into the open 



sleeve of his cloak, he contrived to abstract it from 
thence unnoticed, and to place it securely in his own 
pocket. Then turning to Lord Whitney, with great 
significance, ''Methinks our noble guest," he said, 
''should lose for awhile the weighty matters of state, 
that have doubtless brought him to these rude parts, 
and do the honour to this festive greeting which our 
country's customs require. Hither, boy,'' beckoning to 
his attendant, " bring our family's hirlas, and see that 
it lack not of that precious liquor which thy art has 
taught thee so delicately to prepare." 

In a few minutes the attendant returned, bearing 
the ample hirlas, or drinking-horn, — ^usually filled, and 
emptied at a draught, at great festive assemblies, which 
was at once the pledge of fidelity and the expression of 
personal hospitality. The hirlas which the Welshman 
presented to the English lord in this case, was of large 
dimensions and graceful contour, finely polished and 
richly inlaid with plates of solid silver, chased with 
the family names and device, and to which was pendent 
a massy chain of the same precious metal. Lord 
Whitney knew the custom to which his host alluded, 
and being too well satisfied with himself to oppose his 
humour, he drained the contents of the horn with 
evident satisfaction. 

Owen now gave a sign to his favourite bard, Tudor 
Aled, whose fingers had for some time been gliding 
rapidly, though silently, over the strings of his harp, 
which was already placed to do honour to his own and 
his country's fame. 

" Minstrel," said Owen, " thou art wont to enliven 
our festivals with thy instrument, which I know thou 


boastest of; prepare now thy happiest strain^ such as is 
suited to this high occasion^ and let our noble guest 
hear what melody thy practised hand can call forth 
from that harp of thine/' 

The bard waited not for further parley. He compre- 
hended his patron's meaning, and after sweeping with 
flying fingers across the diapason of his instrument, as 
if to instruct his ear in the echoes he meant to awaken, 
he dashed at once into that bold festive song of the 
princely poet of his country. 

" Fill the H1BLA8 HoBN, my boy, 
Nor let tlie tuneful lips be dry 

That warble Owen's praise ; 
Whose walls with warlike spoils are hong. 
And open wide his gates are flung 

In Cambria's peaceful dayt. 
By Owen's arm the valiant bled ; 
From Owen's arm the coward fled 

Aghast with wild affiight ; 
Let then those haughty lords be^^toe 
How Owen's just revenge they dare. 

And tremble at his sight." 

The guests were all hushed into breathless silence 
when the bard ceased ; and as he gently put aside his 
harp, whose wild peculiar tones were still lingering in 
dying cadence within the spacious hal], he exhibited 
that striking and almost prophetic character which 
belonged to his order, in its best days, before the cruel 
massacre of Bangor, when the Welsh bards animated 
their country's warriors to the fight, or sung their 
victories. His rich mantle of blue doth, thickly 
embroidered with small figures in gold of the raven, 
his patron's crest, and lined with the for of the beaver, 

B 2 


an animal tlien not uncommon in the Principality^ was' 
fastened at the right shoulder by a massy clasp of 
polished gold; his vest or tunic was of azure silk, 
exposing the form of his ample chest as it expanded 
with the enthusiastic efforts of his minstrelsy; while 
encircling his neck, a broad gold chain of twisted links, 
the gift of his patron, had hung gracefully vibrating 
during the rapid motion of his fingers as they passed 
along the instrument. The venerable bard arose when 
his song was finished, and as he leaned upon ''his harp 
so fair,'' he seemed in the majestic outline and rich 
illumination of hiB figure, to stand like the very type 
of his perished race, invested with the grey antiquity of 

'<lVdl was IAb fonn, and thin and tpBn, 
And white as snow his beard and hair; 
Back from hia brow his white locks flow. 
And the high open forehead show; 
0*er his pale cheek rich roses fly. 
And more than yonth illnmes his eje." 

Lord Whitney was by this time in that enviable 
state of mental obscuration, from the strong potations 
that his wily neighbour had pressed upon him, that 
though he was sensible of a multitude of ideas fioating 
like atoms through his brain, he was incapable of 
reducing them to any palpable shape or figure; or 
else, perhaps, he would not have failed to have noticed 
the singular coincidence of the minstrel's song, with 
the name and circumstances of his apparently friendly 
and hospitable host. A flowing wassail cup of rich 
pyment concluded the entertainment of the evening, 
and the commissioners were conducted to their lodg- 
ings, in a state of happy forgetfulness of the object of 


their journey, to sleep away the effects of their bois- 
terous reveky. 

Owen communicated to his father the success of 
his plan, but Oruflfydd abated nothing of his formal 
courtesy and attention to the commissioners. He sent 
his sons in the morning with a numerous retinue to 
attend them to the Guild Hall, the scene of the night's 
festivity, where they met the mayor and sheriffs of the 
borough. Lord Whitney chuckled at the thought of 
having the redoubtable Welshman so completely in his 
power, and summoned Oruffydd to attend. He forth- 
with appeared splendidly dressed, and was immediately 
arrested by the officers of the court. He made no 
show of resistance, but with an assumed air of great 
respect, requested that the proceedings against him 
might be conducted according to the forms of law, and 
that the commission, under which he was attached^ 
might be publicly read, alleging that he could not 
otherwise consider himself bound to submit to the 
authority of the commissioners. 

Lord Whitney readily assented to his request ; but 
upon putting his hand into the sleeve of his cloak, dis- 
covered, for the first time, the loss of his commission. 
Consternation was visible on his countenance, and an 
inquiry was immediately whispered round amongst the 
commissioners' attendants for the missing document. 

Grufiydd surveyed the party for some time with 
secret satisfaction, but in complacent silence. 

'^ Methinks, Lord Whitney/' he said at last, casting 
a scrutinizing glance upon the commissioners, '^ if he 
comes here by the king's grace as he says, must have 
valued his commission too highly, lightly to have com- 


mitted it to the aafe keeping of that ru£9e, or carelessly 
to have lost it. Look^ my lord^ to your piebald coat 
or your silk hood^ you may have placed it there, 
perhaps, to be nearer to your memory/' Then starting 
with fury, clapping his hat hastily upon his head, and 
turning to his friends and followers — '' What !'' he said, 
"have we cozeners and cheaters come hither to abuse 
the king's majesty's power, and to disquiet his true- 
hearted subjects, the good citizens of this our loyal 
town?" Looking at the commissioners, afterward, 
with a bitter frown — 

"By the mass," said he, " before the next day come 
to an end, I will hang up all your bodies for traitors 
and impostors." And immediately ordered his men-at- 
arms to seize and carry them to prison. 

The commissioners were panic struck, and entreated 
for their lives; which Gruffydd at last granted on 
condition that Lord Whitney should put on his livery coat 
of blue, and be bound by an oath to go up to the king, 
acknowledge his own offences, and justify the Welsh- 
man's proceedings. The terrified commissioner, to 
preserve his life, consented, and faithfully fulfilled his 

Gru£^dd, continuing his depredations upon the 
Lords Marchers, was again cited before the king's 
court, and on failing to attend was convicted of felony. 
This determined him to break with the house of Lan- 
caster, and to declare for the duke of York. He joined 
the earl of March, the duke's son, with eight hundred 
men, well armed and appointed, and was slain in the 
bloody field of Mortimer's Cross, after he had lived 


long enough to know that victory had declared on the 
side of the White Rose. 

Grufiydd was succeeded in his power and possessions 
by his eldest son Thomas^ who inherited the courage of 
his father^ but in connection with a mildness of dis- 
position^ and an elegance of manners^ rarely united in 
those cruel times of civil warfare. To avoid inter- 
mixing in the contests of the rival houses^ he withdrew 
to the accomplished court of the duke of Burgundy^ in 
whose service he enrolled himself. Here he fell in love 
with the duke's niece^ and to avoid the consequence of 
his indiscreet attachment, he returned to his native 

Thomas ap Gruffydd was famous for his boldness and 
skill in the tilt and tourney^ and in single combat. 
After his return from Burgundy he had several en- 
counters of this latter kind, particularly with Henry 
ap Gwylim, of Court Henry, in the vale of the Towey^ 
who repeatedly challenged him, and was as constantly 
vanquished. A quarrel with William, the proud earl 
of Pembroke, brought upon him another adversary, 
whose adventures are attended with some humorous 
circumstances, which, as they tend to illustrate the 
character of the times, are here related. The earl's 
quarrel was taken up by one Tuberville, a notable 
swash buckler of that day, " one that would fight on 
anie slight occasion, not much heeding the cause.'' 
Tuberville sent his defiance to Thomas ap 6ru£Pydd by 
one of the earl's retainers. 

*' Go, tell the knave," said he, ''that if he will not 
accept my challenge, I will ferret him out of his cunnie 

248 SIB BHT8 AP TH01U8. 

berrie^ the Castle of Abermarlais/' Thomas receiTed 
this message very jocosely. '' By my faith/' said he, 
"if thy master is in such haste to be killed, I would 
that he should choose some other person to undertake 
the office of executioner/' 

This reply very much provoked the challenger, and 
in a rage he set out for Abermarlais, and entering the 
gate, the first person whom he encountered was Thomas 
ap Gruffydd himself, sitting at his ease, dressed in a 
plain grey frock gown, whom he took for the porter. 

''Tell me, fellow," said Tuberville, "is thy master 
Thomas ap Gruffydd, within ?'*—" Sir/' answered 
Thomas, "he is at no great distance; if thou wouldst 
have aught with him, I will bear thy commands." 

" Then tell him/' said he, " that here is one Tuber- 
ville would fain speak with him." Thomas hearing his 
name, and observing the fury he was in, could scarcely 
refrain from laughing in his face. But restraining him- 
self, he said he would acquaint his master; and on 
going into his room sent two or three of his servants 
to call him in. Tuberville no sooner saw Thomas ap 
Gruffydd than, without making any apology for the 
mistake he had committed, he taxed him roundly for 
his contempt to so great a person as the earl of 

" In good time, sir," said Thomas, " is not my lord 
of Pembroke of sufficient courage to undertake his own 
quarrels without the aid of such a swasher as thyself f 
— ^"Yes, certainly/' replied Tuberville, "but thou art 
too much beneath his place and dignity, and he has 
left thy chastisement to me." 

"Well, then," said Thomas, in excellent humour^ 


''if thou wottldst even have it so, where would it please 
thee that thou shouldst have me to school?'' — " Where 
thou wilt, or dar'st," replied Tuberville. 

''Thou comest here with harsh compliments/' ob- 
served Thomas ; " I am not ignorant, however, that as 
the acceptor of thy challenge, both time, place, and 
weapons, are in my choice ; but I ween that it is not 
the fashion for scholars to appoint where their masters 
shall correct them." After this parley, Thomas fixed 
on Herefordshire as the scene of combat. Here the 
champions met accordingly; when, at the first pass, 
Thomas unhorsed his adversary, and cast him to the 
ground, and by the fall broke his back. 

The amusement of men of gentle blood, as they were 
somewhat strangely called in this rude age, when not 
actually engaged in civil strife, seemed to be in fierce 
personal encounters. The next engagement of this 
kind was in Merionethshire, with David Gh)ugh, when 
Thomas ap Gruffydd killed his antagonist. Having 
afterwards thrown himself on the ground to rest, with- 
out his armour, he was treacherously run through the 
body by one of his enemy's retainers. 

Thomas ap Orufl^dd's two elder sons, Morgan and 
David, became, immediately on their father's decease, 
warm partisans, on opposite sides, of the two rival 
houses of York and Lancaster, — and both perished in 
that murderous warfare. 

The inheritance now descended to Rhys ap Thomas, 
whose first act when he came into possession of the 
estate, was to put an end to the feuds which had sub- 
sisted between the family of Court Henry and his own, 
by a marriage aUiance with Eva, the daughter and 



heiress of Henry ap Gwylim of that house. By this 
judicious measure, he added to his possessions a property 
not much inferior to his own original patrimony. His 
establishment and hospitality were in every respect 
suitable to his immense wealth, and displayed the mag- 
nificence of a prince, rather than that of a private 
gentleman. He acquired unbounded popularity, and 
by degrees very formidable power, by re-establishing 
the games and institutions of his country on different 
parts of his estates in Carmarthenshire and Pembroke- 
shire, and by training the young men to the use of all 
kinds of arms, under the guise of sham fights and 
military spectacles. 

But to return to more historical details. The fatal 
battle of Tewkesbury was fought on the 3rd of May, 
1471, and by its decisive character seemed to put an 
end for the present to the hopes of the house of Lan« 
caster. Queen Margaret, whose sagacity and courage 
had been the guide and stay of her party, was a pri- 
soner in the Tower, and the young prince of Wales^ 
her son, had been inhumanly butcheml before the face 
of the Plantagenet king, for having given a reply 
worthy of the spirit and magnanimity of his mother. 
Twelve pitched battles had been fought during this 
sanguinary contest of the White and Bed Roses. In 
these battles, and on the scaffold, above sixty princes 
of the royal families, above one-half of the nobles and 
principal gentlemen, and above one hundred thousand 
of the common people of England, had lost their lives. 
The bloody and luxurious reign of Edward IV. was 
terminated almost prematurely by a death brought on 
by dissipation and mental remorse; and that of his 


successor^ Richard the Third, was ushered in by a 
tragedy of the most dismal and savage character, when 
the two young princes, the children of the late king, 
were barbarously murdered in the Tower, to make way 
for Gloucester's unjust and yiolent assumption of the 

The defection of the duke of Buckingham from the 
cause of Richard the Third had once more raised the 
hopes of the house of Lancaster, when it became of 
great consequence to gain the adherence of so powerful 
a chieftain as Rhys ap Thomas, especially as he held 
the command of the western coast of Wales and the 
surrounding district. The king, suspicious of the 
fidelity of his subjects, sent his commissioners to Rhys, 
amongst others, to exact an oath of fidelity, which, 
though somewhat offended at the jealousy manifested 
by Richard in its requirement, he took without hesita- 

" I would have the king to know,'' said Rhys to the 
commissioners, ''that such suspicions on the part of 
princes, might read, to some of fickle minds and un- 
stable thoughts, evil lessons against themselves; for 
myself, I protest to his majesty that whoever, ill-affected 
to the state, shall dare to land in these parts of Wales 
where I have any command, must resolve with himself 
to make his entrance and irruption over my body.'' 

Not far from the little town of Llandilo Yawr, at the 
eastern extremity of a fine lake, stood the Abbey of 
Talley, a name which it derived from its locality.* Its 
abbot was a zealous partisan of the earl of Richmond, 
and the intimate friend of Rhys. Plotting, wily, and 

* TaI 7 Ll^ohaa, the head of the lakes. 



peraeTering, he sought to gain him over to the cause oi 
the Tudor^ by alarming his fears at the suspicious and 
sanguinary character of Richard; insinuating at the 
same time that the visit of the commissioners was an 
indication that he had already become an object of the 
tyrant's jealousy and hatred. He succeeded after some 
time in creating distrust and apprehension in the mind 
of BhySi and by the application of that subtle casuistry 
in which the pious churchmen of those days were emi- 
nently skilled^ he silenced his scruples as to his oath 
and his declaration of loyalty .'^ The abbot avowed 
his attachment^ and that of his neighbour^ the bishop 
of St. David's^ to the interest of the house of Lancaster^ 
and he was not long in obtaining from Rhys assurances 
of support in the same cause. 

It was rather more than eleven years after the deci- 
sive battle of Tewkesbury^ when Henry, earl of Rich- 
mond, afterwards Henry YII. of England, landed at 
Milford Haven, with a small band of French auxiliaries^ 
to make a desperate, and, as it should then seem, with 
such inadequate means, a fruitless effort to dethrone 
the tyrant of York, and to seize for himself the sceptre 
and crown of Britain. Rhys ap Thomas no sooner 
heard of the arrival of the French fleet in the bay, than, 
true to his promise, he ordered the beacon-fires to be 
lighted on all the neighbouring hills, as the precon- 
certed signal of the event, and hastened himself, with 
a noble band of chosen followers well mounted and 

* A popular tradition in the neighbourhood asserts, that Rhys 
satisfied his conscience by remaining nnder a small bridge while the 
earl of Richmond passed over. This was doubtless one of the 
expedients suggested by the worthy abbot. 


armed^ to greet him. The rendezvous of the partisans 
of the house of Lancaster was at Shrewsbury, whither 
Bhys repaired with a select body of two thousand horse, 
chosen firom the flower of his attendants. The armies 
of the contending parties marched to meet each other, 
and the important day was fast approaching which 
should lay for ever one of the contending factions in 
the dust. It was Sunday morning when Richard moved 
his long array through the streets of Leicester, to the 
sound of martial music, with the kingly crown upon 
his head, and pitched the tents of his disciplined troops, 
in the evening of the same day, on the field of Bos- 
worth. Bichmond was already in the field, and so 
nearly encamped to his enemy, that many of the dis- 
affected in the tyrant's army came over, and joined 
him in the darkness of the night. The gathering hosts 
had mustered by early dawn at their appointed posts. 
The war-cry of the conflicting Roses was once more 
raised on the peaceful plains of merry England; and a 
fearful contest, such as when men fight for a crown and 
kingdom, marked the progress of that fatal day. 

Richard, in the heat of the battle, made a desperate 
plimge at the earl of Richmond ; Brandon and Cheyne, 
and many a high-bom gentleman, fell before the shock 
of his fierce encounter. Nothing could resist the fury 
of his onslaught. He had nearly reached the spot 
where Richmond stood, when Rhys saw the peril which 
the earl's life was in, and mounting his favourite charger. 
Grey Fetterlocks, which he always reserved for great 
emergencies, with Sir William Stanley, flew to his 
rescue. The gallant Welshman encountered the king 
hand to hand, and after a desperate struggle, slew him. 


Richmond was hailed king on the field of battle by 
his victorious army, and Stanley placed the crown of 
England on his brow. It was in the calm evening 
twilight of that tumultuous day when Rhys, Stanley, 
and the king met together in the tent of the fallen 

" You have both done bravely, my gallant friends/' 
said the king; ''this well-fought field is yours. This 
day will heal, I trust, the distractions of this unhappy 
country. Rise, Sir Rhys ap Thomas,'' he said to the 
kneeling warrior, " the honour of knighthood is justly 
thine ; and hereafter, in token of this day's service, and 
the life that I owe to thy valour, I shall call thee Father 
Rhys." The two knights divided the spoil of the 
tyrant's tent. 

Sir Rhys ap Thomas maintained the fame of his high 
character in all the bitter conflicts of the reign of 
Henry YII. He was created a Knight Banneret, 
loaded with honours, and had conferred upon him the 
government of Wales. He attended his sovereign in 
the expedition to France, and took part with the be- 
sieging army at Boulogne. When peace was concluded 
with Louis XI., that artful monarch sent a pension of 
two hundred marks to Sir Rhys, as he had done to 
most of Henry's counsellors. Sir Rhys, considering it 
only in the shape of a bribe, indignantly spumed the 
offer. ^'Tell thy master/' said he to the messenger, 
*' that if he intends by this to relieve my wants, he has 
sent too little ; but if he proposes to corrupt my mind 
or stagger my fidelity, his kingdom would not be 

The reign of Henry YII., though comparatively 


peaceful^ gave rise to two extraordinary impostures^ in 
the pretensions of Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck 
to the crown of England. In the severe conflicts of 
Stoke and Blackheath^ which were the consequence^ 
Sir Rhys bore a distinguished part. In the first, the 
eager valour of the Welsh hero had nearly cost him 
his life; for, pressing forward before his men in an 
encounter with one of the Irish commanders, he was 
beset by several of the enemy, and only rescued from 
destruction by the timely aid of the earl of Shrewsbury, 
who flew to his assistance. After the battle the king, 
who had been informed of his narrow escape, addressed 
him jocularly — '^ How now. Father Bhys, how likest 
thou the entertainment here 7 Whether is it better, 
eating leeks in Wales, or shamrocks among the Irish ?^' 
" Both, certainly, but coarse fare," replied Rhys; "yet 
either, would seem a feast with such a companion," 
pointing gratefully to the earl who had rescued him. 

In the succeeding reign of Henry YIII. he was 
equally distinguished. He possessed the Justiciaryship 
of the Principality, and gained great honours at the 
sieges of Tiruenne and Toumay, where he commanded 
the light horse. On his return he was invested with 
the office of Seneschal and Chancellor of the manors 
of Haverfordwest and Rhos, in Pembrokeshire. The 
latter days of the old warrior were spent in the peace- 
ful retirement of Carew Castle, amidst the mimic exhi- 
bitions of those martial spectacles the sanguinary 
realities of which had engaged and delighted his active 
life, and in the pageants and festivities of St. George, 
the patron saint of the order to which he belonged, 
which he celebrated with a splendour and magnificence 




that has become matter of history* In the year 1527 
the yeteran knight sunk to rest^ and the holy fiftthers of 
the Priory of Carmarthen chanted '' requie$eat mpaee" 
over the mortal remains of 



Where'er we gaie uonnd, aboTe, below, 
What rainbow tinta, what magio ohanns are foond I 
Book, river, fbreit, monntaiD, all abound. 
And blaest skies that hannontie the whole : 
Beneath, the distant torrent's rushing sound 
Tells where the Tolumed cataract doth roll. 
Between these hanging rocks that shock, yet please the soul. 

CHiiiDa Habold. 

The heavy mists were still lingering over the stream 
of the Gwendraeth when I took up my light scrip^ and 
departed from Kidwelly over the dreary swamp that 
interposes between that little town and the elevated 
district of Pembre Hill^ the highest mountain-range in 
the south of Carmarthenshire. Having crossed Spud- 
der Bridge, and ascended the hill immediately beyond 
itj I stood for a while upon its summit, to contemplate 
a scene the most expansive and enchanting that could 
fall within the range of the human vision. The thick 
vapours had rolled away from mountain, dale, and 
river, and the bright rays of a morning sun had lighted 


up every object of interest far and near. On one side 
stretched Carmarthen Bay^ glittering in radiant suu- 
shine^ with the distant points of Caldy Island and 
Giltar Head^ and farther out the wide expanse of the 
Bristol Channel; on the souths looking over the penin- 
sula of Gowerland and the Bay of Swansea, the bluff 
coast of Devon and Somerset formed the extreme line 
of the horizon. North-easterly lay the length and 
breadth of Carmarthenshire^ with its quiet vales and 
shining rivers^ having in the back-ground the broken 
chain of mountains which skirts the borders of the 
county firom Brecknockshire to the sea. I know not 
how it is^ and it does not enter into the philosophy of 
a wanderer upon the earth^s surface^ like myself^ to 
explain it^ but I always feel the current of pleasant 
thought repulsed when I turn from the delightful sur- 
vey of that which is grand and beautiful in nature, to 
the contemplation of scenes in which the strength and 
ingenuity of man is taxed and wasted for .the acqui- 
sition of sordid gain, and that too, it may be, amid the 
poisonous exhalations of the mine, or the no less in- 
jurious vapours of the heated furnace ; and so it was in 
this case. I slowly and lingeringly withdrew from the 
enchantments of Pembre Hill, and threaded my way 
through the dirty streets of Llanelly, amidst the smoke 
of coalpits and smelting-houses that almost darkened 
the air. I stopped not to examine the miserable ruins 
of its castle, or the embattled tower and tapering spire 
that at once arise from its single church, or the traces 
that are still left to identify it as the ancient Roman 
station of Leucarium ; but pursued my way across the 
ferry of the Loughor, that here empties itself into the 


Bony Creek, till I reached, in somewhat of a fretful 
and melancholy mood, the busy port of Swansea, that 
stands in the dip of its beautiful bay. 

Swansea, or, as it was anciently called, Abertawe, 
from the junction of the Tawe with the sea, ''or, in 
Saxon, Swinesey, of the sea-porkes,'' stands on the 
western side of that river, which is here navigable for 
ships of large burden. The bay has been said to rival 
that of Naples, from its beautiful undulating line and 
capacious basin ; and the town is seen to great advan- 
tage from it. The castle asserts its existence by one 
solitary quadrangular tower, with its range of light dr- 
cular arches suirounding the top, peering from the mass 
of houses that have choked it up nearly on all sides. 
It has also the remains of its eastern wing, part of 
which is in desolation, and part advantageously con- 
verted into excellent shops and respectable domestic 
habitations. This castle was built by the Norman 
leader Henry Beaumont, earl of Warwick, the con- 
queror of Qowerland. Swansea^ or its immediate dis- 
trict, is mpposed to have given birth to Grower, one of 
the fathers of British poetry, and the contemporary of 
Chaucer, in the rudest ages of its literary history; but 
it was actually the birthplace of Nash, better known as 
Beau Nash, so long the arbiter ehgantiarum of Bath. 
It was also the place of banishment of the unfortunate 
and wayward poet Savage. 

The sweep of Swansea Bay comprehends many 
objects (tf great interest. In an angle formed by the 
indention of its bending shore, about five miles from 
the town, stand the remaius of Oystermouth Castle. 
This fortress occupies a gentle eminence close to the 

P — 


shorCj and belonged from a remote period to tlie lords 
of Oower. Its walls are still nearly entire^ and bear 
traces of the bastions and turrets which defended them* 
To add to its strength and importance^ tradition relates 
that a subterraneous communication was made between 
this castle and that of Swansea. Its bold and majestic 
ruins are now a mark for the fisherman as he guides his 
little skiff homewards over the waters. 

The pleasant village of the same name spreads its 
scattered habitations on the declivity of the hilly range 
near which the castle stands, under the shadow of a 
limestone rock, and reaches to the dry and somewhat 
elevated part of the beach within the Mumble's Point. 
This latter object is a bold rocky projection, running 
some distance into the sea, and bears the Pharos of 
that part of our island coast which is washed by the 
waters of the Bristol Channel. Its dazzling light can 
be seen at a great distance by the mariner, and has 
been his guide and beacon on. many a dark and stormy 
night. There is something more than ordinarily in- 
teresting in this object of man's creation, and as the 
Wanderer's eye took in its towering height, he contem<- 
plated it as a grateful illustration of the intelligence 
and benevolence of his race. There it stood, with its 
firm foot on the rock, unshaken amidst the wildest 
blast, and throwing its light upon the trackless waves, 
when the heavens themselves were covered with black- 
ness,— Hseeming like the Genius of Mercy, sending her 
voice booming upon the waters, to warn the wayfarer 
firom the perils of the coast. 

At a short distance from this place are the weather- 
beaten ruins of Pennarth Castle, standing on a rocky 

s 2 

260 NEATH. 

diff^ at the extremity of a barren sandy heath, and still 
further on, to the northward, those of Penrioe. In the 
same direction, and far beyond these rains, rises the 
high mountain of Cefh Bryn, — ^the ridge of the moun- 
tain, — ^with its immense cromlech, called Arthur's 
Stone, composed of a very hard lapis molaris ; under- 
neath, it is said, there was formerly a spring of clear 
water, called Our Lady's Well, which used to ebb and 
flow with the tide of the sea. A little below are the 
remains of the castellated mansion of Oxwich, built on 
the shore of the small bay of that name, about the 
middle of the sixteenth century. The view is termi- 
nated by the promontory of Wormshead and Llanma- 
doc Hill, on which in centuries past the Roman sentinel 
held his watch, and of whose encampment time has not 
yet destroyed all the traces. 

But the Wanderer's way held not to these places. 
Leaving Swansea and Growerland, which forms this in- 
teresting peninsula, on the west, formerly peopled by a 
colony of Flemings, whose successors are still distin- 
guished by their dialect and provincial dress, called 
the Oower Whittle, his path stretched towards the east, 
in a direction nearly parallel with the coast, describing 
something like a half-circle from Neath to Caerphilly, 
and including within these points many subjects of 
great natural beauty, the ruins of many ancient for- 
tresses, and the convenient towns of Bridgend, Cow- 
bridge, Cardiff, and Llandaff. 

The little borough of Neath, formerly the Nidum of 
Antoninus, offers but few attractions to claim the atten- 
tion of the traveller. The river bearing the same name 
is here crossed by a stone bridge, which marks the 

NEATH. 261 

boundary of Gowerland. This stream, in its passage 
from the romantic region amidst the Brecknock hills, 
in which it takes its rise, flows through one of the most 
picturesque valleys in South Wales, and, after being 
swollen by the Dulas, and other tributary waters, 
empties itself into the Bay of Swansea. Old Giraldus 
'' sayeth that the Neath is ful of daunger, by reason 
that it aboundeth with quicke sandes more than any 
other ryver in Wales, in so much as scarcely the coun- 
trimen may guyde a man safely over it.'' The dangers 
of the chronicler's time are however past^ and the 
bridge affords a sure footing to the traveller, and the 
swift and swelling waters appear to have swept away 
the quicksands. The ruins of the abbey, called by 
Leland, — ^''the fairest in Wales,'' at a little distance 
from the place ; and of the castle, which was a Norman 
fortress, are inconsiderable, and too much disfigured by 
the dense atmosphere to invite attention. The former, 
however, possesses some historical interest, from having 
been the sanctuary of Edward II. when pursued by his 
cruel consort Isabella and her confederates, '^wheare," 
as Sir Thomas More says, '' he lurked for a tyme, beinge 
put in comforte by the Welshmen that he should abyde 
theare unespyed, which notwithstanding weare in thende 
hjrred for Judas's rewarde, to betraye him, theyr sove- 
raigne maister." This refuge only delayed for a while 
the fatal catastrophe that awaited the fallen monarch 
within the gloomy dungeons of Berkeley Castle. 

Emerging from the cloudy canopy that seems to 
cover Neath, I pursued my route by Eagle's Bush, an 
agreeable situation upon some high ground, near the 
road to Britton Ferry, a place of rare beauty, dose by 

262 NEATH. 

the estnary of the Neath. The river here ioIIb in rapid 
current along its ample channel, by the western boun* 
dary of the ornamented grounds, as if in haste to 
mingle itself with the waters of the bay. The summits 
of the rocky shore which front the sea, are clothed with 
forests of fine oak and other trees, and the line of ver- 
dant beauty descends gradually and gracefully to the 
river's brink, shutting in the fairy region firom the 
rough blasts that sweep across the Bristol Channel. 
The varied nature of the grounds, now elevated into 
swelling hills, now gently subsiding into rich and fer« 
tile valleys, interspersed with gay flowering knolls of 
myrtle and magnolia, which the mildness of the climate 
permits to grow in the open air, with the perpetual 
change which masses of thick umbrageous trees, 
secluded dingles, and open meadows a£ford, render 
this a scene of perfect enchantment. The village 
churchyard close at hand, that peaceful resting-place, 
combines its picturesque effect and its soothing melan- 
choly reflections to unite sentiment with scenery, and 
to render the landscape complete, by mingling the 
heart's finest, dearest emotions with Nature's choicest 

I constrained myself to leave this attractive place; 
for the lengthening shadows reminded me that I had yet 
to pass some distance before the pilgrimage of the day 
was ended. I lingered, however, on the road, about 
the delightful retreat of Bagland, where the poet Mason 
composed his celebrated elegy on the death of Lady 
Coventry. Would the reader know what detained the 
foot of the Wanderer in this fascinating spot, gazing 
fixedly, as if buried in some abstract speculation. 


though the twilight shades of the evening were warn- 
ing him^ by their deepening hues^ of the coming dark- 
ness? His mind had caught the thread of long-lost 
recollections. It had conjured up the gentle form of 
that Gleaner^ among many lands^ whose rich voice and 
tender tones he had heard in by-gone days^ giving a 
melancholy and thrilling emphasis to those thought- 
creating lines — 

"Yes, Coventry is dead 1 Attend the strain. 
Daughters of Albion I ye that, light as air. 
So oft have tript in her fantastic train. 
With hearts as gay, and fMes half as fair." 

Leaving Bagland with all its associations^ I hastened 
my steps as rapidly as possible through the dirty village 
of Aberavon^ in no mood to examine the firagments 
that yet remain of its fallen castle^ and while the last 
rays of the great luminary still lingered on the edge of 
the magnificent hills that formed the back-ground of 
Margam Park^ I entered that quiet village, and took 
up my abode at the little inn that hangs out its invita- 
tion to the weary traveller. 

Nothing can exceed th^ rural beauty of the modest 
hamlet of Margam, with its peaceful sanctuary occupying, 
as it does, the green valley at the base of the majestic 
mountain-steep of Mynydd Mawr, clothed with verdant 
oaks to its very summit, and breasting with unrivalled 
grandeur the wild waves that sweep along the Bristol 
Channel. To the left of the village, and at a very 
short dbtancefrom it, spread the grounds and gardens 
of Margam Park, sharing alike the seclusion of the 

♦ Mr. Pratt, author of " Gleanings through Westphalia, Holland, 
and Wales,** and many excellent poems. 


valley, and the shelter of the same lofty range of 
waving woods. This place boasts one of the finest 
greenhouses in the kingdom, which contains the splen- 
did collection of orange and lemon trees brought from 
Italy, by Sir Henry Wootton, as a present to King 
Charles I. The vessel in which it was freighted was 
wrecked on this estate nearly two centuries ago, and 
the plants were preserved, to be restored to the royal 
owner ; but the troubles of that period prevented this 
from being done, and they were afterwards confirmed to 
the present possessor by Queen Anne. At either end of 
the building are two superb saloons, in which are placed 
several rare specimens of antiquity, some splendid 
vases, and precious subjects of sculpture. I turned 
from this magnificent orangery, glowing with a harvest 
of yellow firuit, and filled with an atmosphere of per- 
fume, to ruminate amongst the remains of the celebrated 
abbey which the park incloses. Nearly seven centuries 
have rolled away since it was first erected by Robert, 
earl of Gloucester, for the Cistercian brotherhood. 
It is said that Edward II. took refuge in this hospitable 
place before he returned to Neath. Traces of its 
ancient foundation have been discovered, which display 
the extent and magnificence of the building. The 
elegant Chapter House, "that justly admired Gothic 
gem,'' with its fine proportions, and central clustered 
columns sustaining its vaulted roof, has been the last 
to fall beneath the ravages of time. All is now in 
complete ruin, and the gigantic remains that lie pros- 
trate here and there, are overtopped by the long grass, 
while the gay valerian and snapdragon unite their red 
and violet tints, with many-coloured wild flowers, as if 


in triumpli over the cloistered walls and mural frag- 
ments of the ancient abbey. Margam lay in the track 
of the preachers of the crusade, and was visited by 
Baldwin in his itinerary through Wales. Giraldos 
speaks of the monks as being, at that time, more cele- 
brated for their charitable deeds than any other of that 
order in Wales, and as a reward for snch benevolence, 
in a season of famine their com and provisions were, 
by divine assistance, increased like the '' widow's craise 
of oil.'' In this abbey King John and his army were 
entertained on their passage to Ireland, and out of 
gratitude for this hospitality, the abbey was exempted 
from the contribution which he imposed upon all other 
religious houses in the kingdom. 

I now followed the umber line of the sylvan path 
that leads through the overhanging woods to the moun« 
tain-top, to survey the manifold beauties that spread 
on all sides in the valley beneath ; while the vestiges of 
the little oratory on the hill, the convent of Eglwys 
Nunydd, that once shared the companionship of the 
abbey, but now transformed into a respectable farm- 
house with the mouldering antiquities, monastic and 
Bomau, scattered plentifully around this district, en- 
gaged with peculiar interest all my antiquarian lore. 
The present parish church, which formed part of the 
ancient monastic building attached to the abbey, is 
spoken of by that learned antiquary Sir B. C. Hoare, 
as ''a most beautiful and unadulterated specimen of 
Norman architecture in its interior, as well as in its 
western front. The external fa9ade," he says, ''is 
more decorated in its architecture than Ewenny, and 
bears the mark of much earlier antiquity than any 


part of the adjoining abbey which is now extant. It is 
rich also in monumental antiquities. On the south 
side of the choir is a chapel crowded with sculptured 
memorials of the Mansel family, whose effigies are in 
general well executed, and the features in a good state 
of presenration/' 

I left Margam reposing under the shadow of its own 
wood«-crowned hiU, and directed my steps towards 
Bridgend, which I intended to make my resting-place for 
the night. My road lay through the little village of 
Fyle, and by the excellent inn of that place. On my 
left rose the mountain-ridges of Mjmydd Blyden, and 
on my right, Kenfig, with its singular geologic lake of 
pure fresh water, its sandy desert heath, and its castle 
ruins, and beyond, the ever-rolling waters of the deep 
blue sea. 

Branching off from the main road, I entered the 
little straggling town of Bridgend, which c(preads itself 
on eithei" side of the Ogmore. The names which its 
separate townships bear of Old and New Castle^ are 
almost the only records of the existence of th,e two 
fortresses that once belonged to this place. These had 
their reference to a former age, and both the mural 
structures and their memorials have perished. But 
Bridgend and its vicinity possess an interest in being the 
birthplace of two eminently literary and excellent men. 
Dr. Price and Mr. Morgan, well known for their several 
works on mathematics, natural philosophy, and ethics. 

The sun had long passed his meridian, when I left 
Bridgend to visit Ewenny priory and church. The 
remains of the former stand in a meadow bordering the 
narrow stream of the same name, which empties itself 


into the Ogmore a little further on. Ewenny Priory 
has still its strong embattled walls and towers^ or, at 
leastj such portions of them as give some idea of their 
former massiveness, and plainly indicate that they were 
not meant only to afford seclusion to their devout 
inmates, but security, also, in days of lawless violence 
and strife. Seen, as they were, amidst the surrounding 
and intermingling trees, with a fine western sun gleam- 
ing through them, they formed together beautiful 
subjects of light and shade; the grey walls finely 
contrasting with the pale green and coloured leaves, 
which flickered in the gentle breeze, turning aside 
the level beams of pleasant sunshine, or breaking 
their straight lines into a thousand fragments of light. 
The hall is nearly entire, and, with the remaining ruins, 
affords the best example of the ancient monastic style 
that is to be met with in the Principality. The church, 
which has remained almost unaltered since the days of 
Giraldus, and which is still used as a place of religious 
worship, is cruciform in its shape, and its heavy circular 
arches, resting on thick, bulky, clustered columns, with 
simple and uniform capitals, proclaim its early Norman 
architecture and high antiquity. It has many monu- 
ments and rudely-sculptured effigies, with still ruder 
and imperfect devices and inscriptions ; but all tending 
to show its existence in the times of the first Norman 
adventurers. I lingered till evening twilight amidst 
these shades of by-gone days; and nightfall had 
nearly surprised me among their crumbling ruins. As 
I turned away from these ancient piles, the church, 
which was still the house of prayer, and the ruins which 
once formed the sanctuary of the holy brotherhood of 


St. Benedict^ — and emerged again into the open road^ 
it seemed aa if the spell^ which had long held me in 
communion with the spirits of departed ages, was 
broken : and I hurried on to mingle again with my 
living fellows, and to find, in the quiet hosteirie of the 
little town at hand, the rest which a day of travel and 
research had prepared me to exqoy. 

The revenues of Ewenny PricNy were grafted at the 
dissolution in Henry the Eighth's time to Sir Edward 
Carne, an eminent civilian. Burton relates that this 
gentleman was despatched to Borne on the subject of 
the king's divorce, and fulfilled his mission with great 
courage and ability. He was a great favourite after- 
wards with Queen Mary, and became her ambassador 
to the Pope ; and in the reign of her successor, Elixa- 
beth, he was commanded to seek an audience at the 
Vatican to announce her succession to the crown. 
The intelligence was received oontumeliously by his 
Holiness, by whom Sir Edward was forbidden to exer- 
cise his office as ambassador, and under pain of excom- 
munication not to go out of Bome, but to take upon 
himself the government of the English Hospital in 
that city, where he died in 1651. 

With the early dawn on the following morning I was 
upon the road for Cowbridge, through a district rich in 
interest to the naturalist and antiquary. Beceding to 
the north-east in its hilly retreat, and dimly seen 
amongst the intermingling trees, stands the village of 
Coity, with its extensive and interesting castle remains, 
and historical associations. On my right and left, at 
varied distances, were the ruins of many ancient for- 


tresses^ Norman and British^ relieved by some elegant 
mansions of modem erection^ smiling in tbeir freshness 
and yonth. Among the latter rose Dunraven Castle^ 
on the rocky promontory of the seashore^ one hundred 
feet in height, commanding a magnificent view of the 
ocean, rolling in its majesty, or broken into angry surf 
by the rocks which line the shore. The present castel- 
lated mansion occupies the site of the ancient structure. 
In the old Welsh histories this place is called Dindry- 
fan Castle, and was probably the most ancient edifice 
of the kind in Wales. It is said to have been the 
residence of Caradoc, the celebrated Caractacus of 
British history, and of his father, Brftn ab Llyr. 
After the capture of Caractacus it ceased to be the 
residence of the reguli of this district. At the Norman 
Conquest it fell to the share of William de Londres, 
who afterwards gave it to his butler, for his gallant 
defence of the fortress from the attacks of the Welsh. 
The lord of the pantry became thus the lord of " the 
Castle and Manor of Dunraven,'' under the style and 
title of Sir Arnold Butler. There is a dismal story 
connected with the former edifice, which, after having 
lived through the most hostile periods of British history, 
fell by succession into the hands of the last of the 
Vaughans. When the storm raged on that coast, this 
unprincipled wretch used to put up false lights, and 
adopted other devices to deceive and mislead the mariner, 
that he might reap the harvest of a wreck upon his 
inhospitable manor. His crime was distinctly marked 
by Heayen in its punishment. . His three sons were all 
drowned. Two of them perished on a lone rock in the 

270 6T. DONATT's CA8TLE. 

Bea before his eyes. This fatal catastrophe rendered 
the place hateful to him^ and he hastily sold his pos- 
session and left it for ever. 

Farther on are the remains of St. Donates Castle^ 
surrounded by ancient woods^ which prevent them firom 
being seen except firom the high grounds in the inmie- 
diate neighbourhood. St. Donatt's had its towers and 
bastions^ and curtained walls of sufficient strength and 
proportion^ as its massive firagments attest^ to maintain 
its importance and value in a land wres£ed from the 
hands of its ancient possessors^ and filled with the vio- 
lence of arbitrary and lawless power^ and rife in insur- 
rection and perpetual civil contest. But the lords of 
St. Donatt's combined the luxury with the fiercer 
passions, of that rude age. The castle had its terraced 
gardens, connected with each other by broad flights of 
stone steps, reaching from the fortress walls to the 
waters of the Bristol Channel ; and its broad avenues, 
in which the rich shade of the dustering oaks singularly, 
but not ungracefully, combined with the fanciful, half- 
military, garden architecture that prevailed in those 
times. It was this peculiar style which preserved such 
a dignified and feudal air throughout the grounds de- 
voted to ornament and pleasure in the domains of our 
ancestral nobility. This edifice was erected in the time 
of William Ruf us, and formerly belonged to Sir William 
le Stradling ; and was the seat of the family for nearly 
700 years. In the park are the remains of a quadran- 
gular tower, which tradition states to have been used 
for the purpose of discovering vessels in distress upon 
this rocky coast, in stormy weather. Still farther on 
the road is the site of St. Quintin's Castle, a name 

CQWfiRIOGE. 271 

ouce formidable amongst the Norman adventurers that 
overran this part of the Principality ; what remains of 
the building is now converted into the humble but 
useful purpose of a bam. 

Cowbridge is a little town^ containing a handsome 
churchy and a town hall^ where the quarter sessions are 
heldj and an excellent grammar-school^ endowed hj Sir 
Llewelyn Jenkins^ secretary of state to James II. li 
is seated in a low bottom, in the midst of a fertile trad 
of country. It formerly bore the name of Pont Vaen, 
so called from the stone bridge which crosses the river 
intersecting the little town, as it hurries on to fall into 
the sea at a short distance firom the place. Robert de 
Q\pitin, one of the companions in arms of the Norman 
adventurer Fitzhammon, surrounded this town with a 
stone wall. A bold Grothic gate on the south, in toler^ 
able condition, still remains to attest the truth of this 
fact. I entered Cowbridge as the good housewife began 
to ply her daily task, and, after refreshing myself with 
an excellent Welsh breakfast, prepared to pursue my 
way to Cardiff and Llandaff. On the left of the little 
town, and overlooking the rich fertile vale of Cowbridge, 
stands Penline Castle, boldly seated on the lofty summit 
of a mountainous ridge that comprehends in its crescent 
the two extremities of Tre-fychan and Coed y Stanby, 
and commanding a prospect of uncommon diversity and 
extent. Beneath lie, stretched as on a map, the luxu- 
riant lowlands in all their picturesque variety of shade 
and colour, of green meadows and fields of ruddy 
brown, bounded by the distant hills of Trebellin and 
Coed y Brain ; and far off, at the extremity of vision, 
the magnificent mountains that rise in the very heart 



of the wildest region of Glamorganshire; on the sonth, 
the shining waters of the Bristol Channel, to the iron- 
bound coast of Ilfraconibe and Somersetshire. 

CardiflP is a name derived from the situation of this 
town on the Taff, which runs along the west side, and 
falls into the sea three miles below it. Burton calls it, 
''the fairest town of all South Wales I '' Cardiff was 
in ancient times alternately under the British, Boman, 
and Norman sway, and was then, as now, a place of 
considerable importance. It possessed a fortified castle, 
which was surrounded with embattled walls, having 
five gates of entrance, of which there are still some 
remains. It owes its erection to Fitshammon, after he 
and his adventurous knights had conquered the county 
of Glamorgan in the twelfth century. It was the scene 
of that tragical story which is related of Robert, the 
eldest son of the Norman conqueror of England, who 
was cheated alike by his two younger brothers, Rufus 
and Henry, of his crown and kingdom, and by the 
latter deprived of his sight, and barbarously immured 
in one of the dismal dungeons of this place. Matthew 
Paris has a curious tradition respecting this illustrious 
prisoner, which he tells in these words : — " During his 
Imprisonment, it happened that Henry, his Brother, 
and then Kinge, had brought him upon a Feast Daye 
in the Mominge, a Scarlet Garment to pull on, with a 
Cape for the Heade, as the Manor then was, which, as 
he assayed, he found it to straighte in the Cape, inso- 
muche that he brake a Stitche or twoe in the Seame, 
and castinge it aside, he bad his Gentleman give it his 
Brother Robert ; for his Head (quoth he) is less then 
myne. The G^ment was brought him, and, when he 


sawe it a litle tome^ he demaunded how it happened 
that it was not sowed ; the Gentleman told the Trouthe, 
which as he understode, he fell into a great melancholy, 
sayinge : And dothe my Brother make me his Bedeman, 
in that he sendethe me his cast Clothes ? Then have 
I lyved to longe. And he so tormented himselfe with 
Sorrowe, that he would never after receyve Sostenaunce, 
but pyned in this Pryson/' Lambarde relates " that 
in the variance betwene Henry III. and his nobilitye, 
this castle was besieged, and Warine Basset, a nobleman, 
receyved his deathe there/' In the time of the civil 
wars between Charles and his Parliament, it was 
assaulted by Cromwell, and bravely defended by the 
royalist garrison. It fell at last by treachery into the 
hands of the republican forces. A deserter from the 
fortress, acquainted with a secret subterraneous pass 
that led immediately underneath the river into the 
open country, — and which, as was usual with the for- 
tresses of that age, had been formed for the purpose of 
introducing supplies into the garrison, — silently guided 
a strong party of the besieging army, in the dead of 
the night, into the castle, who surprised and over- 
powered its gallant defenders. Cromwell, with his 
accustomed decision, after he had taken possession of 
the place, hanged the traitor, as an example to his own 
troops. The western wing still preserves its ancient 
baronial splendour, and contains a suite of magnificent 
apartments; but the rest of the building has been 
somewhat injudiciously repaired and modernized. The 
courtyards, with their surrounding walls, have disap- 
peared, and in their open area have left the venerable 
keep, surmounting the elevated part of a smooth and 



yerdant lawn, still standing like the hoary witness of 
its eventful history — of its ancient strength and its 
strange vicissitudes. The mount from which the keep 
rises is of considerable height and breadth. I ascended 
to the summit by the winding path with which it is 
encircled, to enjoy the beautiful prospect of the sur- 
rounding country it affords, but principally to obtain a 
view of the picturesque ruins of Castle Coch, or the 
Bed Castle, as it is termed in English, that rest on the 
top of a precipitous cliff, towards which convei^ the 
mountains that rise on each side of the Taff, leaving 
only a narrow pass that was effectually commanded by 
it. Castle Coch might be said almost to shut in the 
two valleys to the north and south, through which the 
river runs, and was, from its situation and strength, 
nearly impregnable. Its short history would carry 
back the reader to the twelfth century, in which its 
bristling ramparts were the last refuge of the liberties 
of Glamorganshire. Ivor, the son of Ceidivor, better 
known as Ivor Bach, or ''the Little," from the small* 
ness of his stature, erected this castle, and assembled 
the bold and discontented spirits of his country, when 
their privileges and possessions had been invaded by 
the Norman knights, in the reign of William Bufus, 
and afterwards in that of his brother Henry. It was 
in this latter reign that the hero of the Red Castle on 
the Cliff made a daring and unexpected attack upon 
that of Cardiff, and took its commander, Robert, duke 
of Gloucester, the king's son, prisoner, together with 
his wife, and carried them with him to his eyrie in 
the mountains. The liberties and immunities of the 
country were ceded as the price of the freedom of the 


noble captives, nor were they released till these had 
been confirmed by the king's own hand. The antiqua- 
rian interest of Cardiff is confined to a few objects, 
amongst which are the fine church of St. John, of rich 
Norman architecture, and the trifling monastic remains 
of the Black and Orey Friars, founded by the descen- 
dants of the Conqueror. Cardiff has now become a 
place of constant visit to travellers in search of natural 
beauty, from its interesting local situation, and it is 
rising in commercial importance, owing to its connec- 
tion with the mining, iron, and tin trades in the neigh- 

I had intended to have taken Llandaff into my day's 
wanderings, but I had lingered too long in the castle 
grounds amongst its many interesting objects, and on 
the ramparts, which are now tastefully planted with 
shrubs, and laid out in walks, contemplating the beau- 
tiful scenery of the surrounding country which they 
afford, that I was too wearied to proceed further; and 
I rested for the night in one of the excellent inns which 
this town possesses. 

A morning's walk to the ancient city of Llandaff, 
distant from Cardiff rather more than two miles, was 
only a timely preparation to a hearty breakfast, which 
the little hostelrie of the city amply provided for me. 
The gentle reader will, perhaps, be surprised at this 
singular association of terms, which convey at the same 
time the idea of metropolitan consequence with village 
humility; but the bishop's see has dwindled into an 
inconsiderable dependency upon its more youthful and 
vigorous neighbour, from whose markets its weekly 
supplies are derived. 

T 2 


Llandaff derives its name from the situation of the 
church on the banks of its river. Giraldos writes it 
'^fanum super Taph/' or "the church upon the Taf." 
However this place may have declined in social impor- 
tance^ it has that within it which fails not to arrest the 
foot of the traveller and the antiquary. Its cathedral, 
which is the great object of attraction, boasts of a date 
beyond that of the renowned king Arthur. Llandaff 
was almost the birthplace of British Christianity, and, 
so far back as the second century, it beheld a Christian 
church rise upon the banks of its own clear placid 
river. In the latter part of the fifth century it became 
a bishop's see. The funds for this purpose, Godwin 
says, were aided by " great summes of money," con- 
tributed in payment of a release firom the fourth part 
of any penances inflicted upon the subscribers. 

The present edifice was erected in the thirteenth 
century, by Bishop Urban, in a hollow surrounded by 
rising grounds, which gives it a solemn and monastic 
air. Its western front combines one of the finest spe- 
cimens of the Norman, Saxon, and Gothic styles. It 
has a lofty square tower, profusely enriched with the 
best sculpture of the age in which it was built. The 
entrance to the north and south are pure Saxon. On 
account of the dilapidations of the ancient chancel, 
some alterations took place, not exactly in keeping with 
the fine architectural character of the original building. 
The cathedral contains some interesting monuments of 
bishops and warriors, — of the benevolent Christiana 
Andley, — and a solitary virgin that died of disappointed 
love; it also records a long array of dignitaries, two at 
least of whom may be said to be illustrious — William 


Morgan^ the first translator of the Old Testament into 
the Welsh language^ and Richard Watson^ distinguished 
for his erudition as a scholar^ and for his eloquent advo- 
cacy of liberal political principles in the senate. Near 
the cathedral are ^ome remains of the castellated palace 
of the bishop, which the wild Glyndwr destroyed during 
his ineffectual struggles for the liberties of his country. 

The evidences of departed men and ages which' 
monumental records and architectural remains afford, 
have a natural tendency powerfully to affect the mind. 
There is what may, perhaps, be called a sensuality of 
feeling, in the combinations which the intellectual 
powers perform under the influence of these external 
objects. This mental revelling is sometimes created 
and coloured by the profusion of significant memorials, 
— sometimes by their immediate associations with a 
long train of stirring events, — and sometimes it is 
detained and exercised upon one simple fact, connected 
with the dimmest and most distant event of their 
history. In the present case, there was the old 
cathedral, with its wonderful records running through 
a period of nearly thirteen centuries, — its mailed 
warriors and mitred bishops thronging its silent walls, 
the effigies of beings once living upon this busy earth, 
— and there was an event anterior to all these, forming 
the most beautiful of pictures, in its primitive church, — 
and this was to me the most engaging of all, — rising 
on the banks of the tranquil waters, where the first 
Apostle lifted up his hands towards heaven, and declared 
to the half-savage people the deep and eternal truths of 
Christianity. What a rich store does the observant 
traveller, and the diligent reader, prepare for the exer- 


278 LLANDArr. 

dse and enjoyment of future days? It is one of the 
great peculiarities of our constitution that every object 
we look upon^ or treasure up, fumiBhes materials for 
the intellect, which those two great alchemists. Memory 
and Imagination, reproduce upon all fitting occasions. 
There is scarcely any picture called forth by these 
faculties, belonging to earthly things, but what is com- 
posed of these old materials, blended and worked out 
into an infinite variety of forms. They rise, advance, 
and group themselves to the " music of memory,'' like 
the primogenial atoms in the fanciful theory of the 
philosopher of Samos. The words pronounced by the 
holy man on the banks of the Taff, were words of life. 
They were ordained to be the instruments by which 
men's minds were at once to be conquered, and the 
victory recorded. They were like the seeds carried by 
the pilgrim bird, and dropped upon the coral rock of 
the Indian Ocean, — germinating, fructifying, and repro- 
ducing their kind till the barren land became a grove 
of palm-trees, fiill of foliage and fruit, giving solace to 
the eye, and food to the taste; delighting the future 
voyager by their green beauty amidst the wide waste of 

" Tis a strange mystery, the power of woi-ds ! 
Life is in them, and death ! A word can send 
The crimson colour harrying to the cheek, — 
Harrying with many meanings ; or can turn 
The current cold and deadly to the heart. 
Anger and fear are in them ; grief and joy 
Are in their sound ; yet slight, impalpable :— 
A word is but a breath of passing air." 

I was absorbed in these reflections when I found 


myself, on the following morning, a wanderer on the 
almost pathless summit of Carreg Craig, amidst the 
wild and picturesque scenery of a mountainous region, 
with the gigantic ruins of Caerphilly Castle appearing 
in the distance before me. 

The sun's broad rays were gleaming upon this ancient 
pile as I entered the castle inclosure on the eastward 
by the barbican, from which stretched, in a line with 
the boundary-wall to the right, a range of buildings 
which had been used as the barracks of the garrison. 
I passed through the grand gateway, with its two 
towers, into the ample courtyard, on the south side of 
which once stood in its glory the great hall of the 
castle. This mi^nificent apartment was of extraor- 
dinary dimensions, and was ornamented in the most 
elaborate architectural taste of the times. It had its 
four grand windows with pointed arches, ornamented 
with double rows of sculptured leaves and fruit. The 
side walls were decorated with clusters of round triplet 
pilasters, supported at the bottom with carved busts of 
exquisite and fanciful workmanship, from which sprang 
originally the vaulted arches of the roof. At the east 
end were two doors of the same pointed character, and 
between them a large arched window with delicate 
tracery and highly-finished carvings. Another apart- 
ment to the west corresponded with the great hall, but 
of smaller dimensions, and a third in continuation, 
which formed the anteroom at the head of the great 
staircase. The central buildings sustained at their 
south-east angle a round tower, which was used as the 
mint, and close by it another of nearly eighty feet in 
height, which, from some cause, has subsided into a 



leaning position, and has been retained for centuries in 
this condition by the strength of the cement which 
holds its masonry together. From the top, down 
almost to the middle, runs a large fissure, by which 
the tower is divided into two separate parts, so that 
each side hangs over its base, in such a manner that it 
is difficult to say which is most likely to fall first. Mr. 
Wood, of Bath, more than sixty years ago, measured 
its lineal projection by lying on his back, and found its 
outer part standing eleven feet out of perpendicular, 
resting only on one part of its side. A long gallery 
connects the chambers with this part of the building. 
A lofty wall stretched its strong buttressed line all 
round, like a rampart of prodigious thickness, and of 
such extent as to inclose a large and open space of 
ground, through which ran a copious stream that sup- 
plied the garrison with water. This great outer wall 
was fortified with massy towers^ at convenient distances, 
which communicated with each other by embattled 
galleries^ and the whole strengthened by extensive out- 
works of bastions, moats, and other defences. This 
fortress, in its perfect state, included two miles within 
its outer moat, crossed by thirteen drawbridges. Even 
now, though ages have rolled away since the period 
when Caerphilly Castle was the scene of social habita- 
tion or of fierce contention, yet are its remains more 
entire in their connections, and more prodigious in 
their extent, than any that belong to the history of 
former times in Great Britain, resembling rather the 
ruins of a city than of a single edifice. 

A peaceful monastery, belonging to the piety of the 
ninth century, and named after its founder, St. Cenydd, 


first occupied the site of Caerphilly Castle. An irrup- 
tion of the Mercian Saxons occasioned its destruction^ 
and the first castle that was erected on its foimdation 
was razed to the ground by Rhys Vychan, prince of 
South Wales, in the thirteenth century. In a few 
years afterwards it was rebuilt and fortified by the 
Norman, John de Breos. In the lapse of time it fell 
into the possession of the younger Spenser, the worth- 
less favourite of Edward II., who greatly enlarged and 
strengthened it. During this reign it was the reAige 
of this weak monarch, when pursued by his queen, 
Isabella, and his rebellious barons, and stood a siege of 
the most desperate and obstinate nature. The means 
by which it was taken, and the adventures of the un- 
fortunate monarch, as related by tradition, throw an 
air of interest and marvel over this part of its history. 
The besieging army had for some time been employing 
all the engines of destruction they possessed, but they 
found them too weak to make any impression against 
the massy walls, whilst the soldiers were mortally 
wounded by the shower of molten iron thrown down 
upon them. At last a battering ram of huge dimen- 
sions, suspended upon a frame supported by twenty 
large oaks, and moved forward by a thousand men, 
with muffled feet, in the dead of a dark night, effected 
a practical breach in the walls. Tremendous large 
fires, throwing the castle into view as distinct and clear 
as in daylight, which it took a hundred teams to supply, 
were kept up to assist the besiegers in working this 
enormous engine. After the breach was made, the 
king escaped in the habit of a peasant, and to disguise 
himself more effectually, as well as to cut off the traces 


of lus retreat^ he mingled for a wbfle amongst the 
besiegers, assisting for some time, with great apparent 
seal, in piling fuel npqn the snrroimding fires. He 
soon secretlj withdrew from this employment, and in 
the midst of the dark and stormy night, pursued his 
way, and wandered on for twenty miles westward, 
through one of the mountainous outlets, for a whole 
day and night, without knowing the direction which 
he was taking, till he came to the parish of Langunnoyd. 
Hungry and worn down, on the second morning he 
hired himself as a cowherd or shepherd, at a farm that 
to this day is known by the tradition connected with 
it. After remaining there for some time, the farmer, 
finding him an awkward and ignorant fellow, and that 
he could make nothing of his services, dismissed him. 
From Langunnoyd the unfortunate monarch found his 
way to the sanctuary of Neath Abbey. The castle 
continued to remain in the possession of the family of 
the Spensers, but it had been so much injured by the 
many fierce attacks it had endured, that it was aban- 
doned as a residence about the middle of the fourteenth 

Owen Olyndwr took possession of it during the time 
of his contest for the sovereignty of Wales, and it is 
described even then, in its dilapidated state, as 

"Gigantio CMrpbilly, » forireia great in ruiiiB." 




Methinks some musing Wanderer I see, 
Weaving his wayward fancies. Round him, rock 
And cliff, whose grey trees mutter to the wind, 
And streams down rushing with a torrent ire : 
The sky seems craggy, with her cloud-piles hung^ 
Deep-massed, as though embodied thunder lay 
And darkened in a dream ot hayoc there. 


There are few regions on earth that present more of 
the sublime and beautifxil features of Nature, within 
the same compass^ than are to be found among the 
mountains^ hills^ and valleys of the north of Glamor- 

The Taff, which rises in Brecknockshire^ is an incon- 
siderable riyer till it enters the boundary of this pic- 
turesque county^ and receives in succession several 
large streams. Its capacious channel lies deep within 
the mountainous ridges that intersect the county, and 
which shape its sinuous course in the most fantastic 
manner, creating as it flows rich and fertile valleys that 
seem to laugh with joy beside its fertilizing waters. 
At times, when some interposing rock obstructs its 



progress^ or confines it within a narrower compass, it 
frets and foams like a wrathful torrent; and then, 
again, when it escapes, into a broader sweep, it rolls 
with a deep and placid tide till it washes the sides of 
that proud cathedral which rears its towers near the 
end of its course, and, at length, it buries itself in the 
undistinguished waters of the ocean at the bay of 

It was now approaching that time of the year when 
the rich and mellow autumn was beginning to give 
indications of its proximity to a season of sterner and 
ruder character. I left Caerphilly sleeping beneath its 
mountain guards to the north and south, and passed 
through the gorge of the yalley by the eastern outlet, 
ascending the side of the river towards Pont y Prydd, 
or, as it is more modemly denominated, New Bridge. 
The wind, as it swept through the opening in fitful 
gusts, plainly portended that I should experience a day 
of change. I wrapped my travelling-cloak closer roimd 
me, prepared for whatever storms I might have to 
encounter, and reached the object of my search just as 
the careering clouds opened out to a beam of light 
brighter than the day had hitherto afforded. Pont y 
Prydd is sometimes, and very truly, rendered in English, 
the " Bridge of Beauty." It is a perfect segment of a 
circle, and stretches its magnificent chord of one hun- 
dred and forty feet across the bed of the Taff, rising 
like a rainbow from the steep bank on the eastern side 
of the river, and gracefully resting on the western — 
the beau idial of architectural elegance.''^ 

* This extraordiouy stracture was erected by William Edwards, a 
common itonemason of the neighbourhood. This worthy man, by the 


L ..X 







I left the contemplation of this wonder of the Princi- 
pality^ as it has been called^ to visit the singular and 
picturesque waterfall about half a mile from Pont y 
Prydd ; following a delightful little path shadowed by 
trees, formed underneath the jutting brow of Craig-yr- 
esg, which leads to it. The fall is not more than from 
eight to ten feet ; but the craggy strata, over which it 
breaks, divide the stream into several volumes, which 
dash with considerable violence over the opposing bar- 
rier. The white foam and spray raised by the fall^ 
harmonized beautifully with the mingled verdure that 
lined th^dark banks of the river. From Pont y Prydd 
I turned my steps towards Pont Neath Vaughan, fol- 
lowing the mountainous track to the westward, in 
preference to the main road through Aberdare, pursu- 
ing for a while the course of the Bhondda, which on 
one side forms a narrow vale, consisting merely of the 
road and a few fields, and on the other is bounded by 
perpendicular cliffs to the water's edge, surmounted at 
the top with the most majestic timber of the county. 

At a short distance is the first waterfall on the 
Bhondda, which though not so magnificent as some in 
the northern part of the Principality, possesses a pecu- 

force of his genias, and his indomitable persoTerance, advanced from 
the commonest station to one of great respectability, and has left some 
of the finest examples of pontile architecture in the Principality to 
attest his talents. With his professional avocations he united the 
business of a fiu-mer, and the sacred duties of an ordained dissenting 
minister. A similar instance of great natural talents, unassisted by 
the advantages of scientific education, is related by Mr. Coze, of Ulric 
Grubenman, the obscure carpenter of the canton of Appenzel, who 
was the architect of the hanging bridge that crosses the Rhine at 

286 poirr t frtdd. 

bar cliann in the ondisturbed aditade that reigns 
around, broken only hj the hoarse and ceaseless roar of 
the cataract, that, mingling with no living aonnd, im- 
parts a reality to the loneliness which is most sensibly 
felt. Farther on is a second waterfall, and not more 
than a quarter of a mile from this is a third ; but they 
are both distinguished by natural characteristics in a 
great degree corresponding with the first, except in the 
increased grandeur of the latter, arising from its depth 
and greater volume of water. The course of the river 
is one of great beauty and variety : its stream is some- 
times disturbed by rocka and inequalities at the bottom 
of the channel, and its waters are fistful, foamy, and 
turbulent ; at others it is dear, placid, transparent, and 
deep. The rocky shore is for the most part either 
precipitously steep, or shelved, or broken and worn 
into fantastic shapes and figures ; and occasionally, the 
banks on either side are lined with luxuriant oaks, that 
throw their branches midway on the stream. Not far 
from the last fall is the junction of the Bhondda-vawr 
and the Bhondda-fychan, where a bridge spans the 
opposing banks. Here I bent my steps up a steep 
and barren hill, and then continued my way at the foot 
of a high and rocky ridge, fashioned into a variety of 
forms by time and tempest. I had now entered fairly 
into this wild and mountainous region, where nature 
seemed to reign in stem and unbroken silence amidst 
her own eternal rocks. Not a human being beside 
myself appeared to be treading these solitudes, nor was 
there a habitation to be seen. On my left rose into 
gigantic stature the stupendous summits of Mynydd 
Cymmer and Mynydd Dinas, and receding from them 


more easterly^ the lofty ridge of Mynydd Glyn ; on my 
right towered Cefn Rhondda and Cefn Gwingel^ two 
elevated ranges of a still more magnificent character^ 
embracing within their indosure the stream of the 
lesser Rhondda^ as it pursues its babbling course^ 
amidst the green forests that line its banks^ to its con- 
fluence with the Bhondda-vawr. Before me was Ystrad- 
y-fodwg, — the village of the green valley,— encircled 
with rockSj and environed with all the ''wild pomp of 
mountain majesty/' 

The road now descended the hill^ and brought me 
again into connection with the Rhondda-vawr, which I 
crossed by the bridge that has been erected on this 
spot. I had for some time lost sight of this stream^ 
while I was exploring my path amongst a labyrinth ot 
rocks, but the river had found a humbler channel, 
through which it had made its way till we met again 
(not without pleasure on my part) at the bottom of the 
hill I had just descended. Here it escapes from the 
frowning cliffs and rocky towers that have for so con- 
siderable a part of its course traced their images in its 
clear transparent waters, while it fertilizes the vale of 
Ystrad-y-fodwg, giving richness and verdure up to the 
very feet of those majestic mountains that embrace it. 

In these unfrequented regions, and especially after a 
fatiguing walk, with but a scantily supplied scrip, the 
sight of a wayside inn, even such as Ystrad-y-fodwg 
affords, is a subject of gratulation and delight, and I 
was not slow to enjoy its entertainments. 

Several small rippling streams now descend from the 
mountains and form their junction with the river ; the 
vale becomes less fertile, and more closely embraced by 


the surrounding rocks, whose sides are, however, richly 
adorned with wood. Further on is a waterfall of great 
natural beauty, when seen in connection with the 
surrounding objects, though in itself but a miniature 
representation of the magnificence of many larger 
ones. From this point the Rhondda-vawr turns ab- 
ruptly to the west, and forms two other falls near to 

On the east, in a rocky region not far from Bwlch-y- 
Uadron, a mountain-pass called by that name, rises the 
Rhondda-fychan, which, by the tributary contributions 
of six small rivulets, flowing from the surrounding 
heights, soon becomes a rapid river, sending its tide in 
a south-westerly direction towards its point of junction 
with the Rhondda-vawr. This latter has its birthplace 
about one mile distant from the source of the Fychan, 
near Craig-y-Llynn, the loftiest peak in Glamorganshire, 
at the foot of which it winds its devious course. No- 
thing can exceed the peculiar effect produced by the 
appearance of Craig-y-Llynn, which rises almost per- 
pendicularly in towering sublimity at the end of the 
narrowing dell, through which the river finds its chan- 
nel, and seems as if to deny all egress to the traveller's 
foot. The summit of the cUff is broad, firinged here 
and there with scanty verdure, towards which the cattle 
from the opposite side, with instinctive sagacity, had 
wandered, adding much to the picturesque character of 
the scene. 

The path that leads out of the valley is by a difficult 
and winding ascent over a mountain to the right of 
Craig-y-Llynn. The craggy and broken rocks, the 
falling torrents, and the precipitous nature of some 


part of the road^ rendered this one of the most fa- 
tiguing passages I had experienced daring my Wander- 
ings. To the left of the dell, Craig-y-Llynn recedes 
from its straight line and sweqps round an extensive 
space, and again projects as before^ forming almost the 
figure of a horse-sh6e. Upon the west horn of the 
cliflF is Llynn Pach, a fine fresh-water lake of great 
depth and considerable extent, well stored with the fish 
usually found in these alpine situations. On the east 
horn, which rose near to the track over which I was 
clambering, is Llynn Fawr, another lake of larger size 
and similar quality. These basins of clear shining 
waters^ stored with life^ and almost inaccessible in their 
solitudes, were now before me ; and on every side the 
prospect, firom the commanding height I occupied, was 
sublime, romantic, and beautiful. In descending- the 
mountain over a rough and dreary road, I reached the 
little hamlet of Bhydgroes, and thence pursued my 
way till I arrived fatigued, yet delighted, at Pont Neath 
Vaughan, where the welcome sign of the Angel beckons 
the weary traveller to stay. " Mine hostess" contrived 
to make the accommodations tolerably comfortable ; it 
therefore became my head-quarters during the greatest 
part of my stay in this neighbourhood^ from which I 
diverged to the varied and extraordinary scenery of the 
9urrounding country. 

The first visit I paid on the following morning was 
to the Vale of Neath, which stretches itself from the 
little village of my temporary sojourn, and extends 
southward about ten miles, varying in width from less 
than one to two or three miles. Though the Vale of 
Neath does not present so rich a. scene of cultivation 




as many other Welsh valleys^ yet it possesses many 
subjects of great picturesque beauty. Seen as it was 
by me^ after my late wandering amidst the untameable 
wildness of the Glamorganshire mountains^ and en- 
riched in effect by the many-coloured autumnal hues 
and the soft touches of the year's decline, it was in a 
peculiar degree both interesting and delightful. The 
vale exhibits several long reaches of quiet rural beauty^ 
inclosed by two ranges of hills which run the whole 
extent, with occasional high rocks, feathered for the 
most part with forest foliage, and rearing above all their 
high and weather-beaten heads. Near the centre of 
the vale is the Melincourt Fall, a beautiful cascade, 
surrounded by romantic scenery ; and at no great dis- 
tance from it, the pleasing and richly-cultivated estate 
of Rheola. With the Vale of Neath I closed my 
pilgrimage of the day, proposing on the succeeding 
morning to commence my diurnal range with an 
inspection of the waterfalls near the village. 

The Purthen river has its course on the west of Pont 
Neath Y aughan, at a short distance from which it forms 
its junction with the Neath-fychan. A line of high 
ground, at a little distance on either side, runs parallel 
with the river as far as Nant y Gwal. The right bank 
is richly clothed with timber of the finest growth, while 
the left presents its bold peaks in distinct contrast. 
Stretching at a distance to the north-west is the enor- 
mous ridge of Careg-Uwyd, throwing its gigantic arms 
both east and west, and inclosing a large circular tract 
of elevated ground, near which the great Roman road 
of Sam Helen traversed, crossing this tremendous 
ridge near the twin summits of Maes Gawnen. 


The great fall on the Porthen^ — ^whicU is called in 
the language of the country^ Ysgwd Einon Gam^ — Lame 
Einon's Waterfall — ^from the peculiarity of the situation^ 
is not perceived or heard till the wanderer's foot has 
approached near to the high and rugged crag that 
beetles over the dark waters beneath. The effect is 
greatly heightened by the seclusion of the woody glen 
in which it unexpectedly opens upon the view, and the 
quiet path towards it through the green meadows of 
the valley. A perpendicular cliff rears its bold, frown- 
ing brow right in front of the cascade, like the move- 
less watcher of its ceaseless fall. On the right, and 
with an aspect less rugged and high, rises another cliffy 
as if in companionship with its gigantic neighbour : 
between the latter and the opposite rocks the river 
pours its rolling tide in one sheet of bright foaming 
water, to the distance of eighty feet. Atr the bottom 
of the taller cliff there is a profuse vegetation and some 
luxuriant trees ; while the sides of the lesser are com* 
pletely clothed with verdure, and richly-coloured and 
delicately-tinted foliage. On the top, in majestic 
triiunph and ineffable dignity, a single oak throws its 
broad arms over the falling waters, which from its size 
and moss-coloured trunk, must have been the associate 
of the stem cliff for many generations past. 

The rocks on the opposite side are almost naked, 
with only here and there a few stinted shrubs which 
seem to struggle for existence in their occasional fis- 
sures ; but even these contribute to the richness of this 
beautifully-composed picture, by the variously-shaded 
horizontal lines of strata of which they are formed — ^by 
the rich and many-coloured mosses that cover them — 

V 2 


and by the fantastic^ and in some instanoeSi singularly- 
defined shapes that have been fashioned by the action 
of the air and water. In order to enjoy the subject to 
the fullest possible degree^ I descended between the two 
cliffs^ a somewhat perilous enterprise, which I accom- 
plished by the aid of sundry rocky projections, broken 
tree-roots and trunks, and by swinging myself by the 
pendent branches from place to place, until I arrived 
safely at the bottom. The scene up the river is of un- 
speakable grandeur, and such as amply to repay the 
fatigue and hazard of the descent. The stern, primeval 
granite rocks, on the right, present their rude immove- 
able features amidst the graceful, bending, richly- 
coloured foliage of the willow, the mountain ash, and 
the delicate birch, to the very water's brink ; while the 
interstices are filled up with luxuriant creepers of all 
hues of grefcn, and red, and blue, and yellow, which 
distinguish their leaves and flowers. On the left is the 
smooth, unbroken, rocky face of the mountain, which 
seems nearly to have forbidden the intrusion of all 
vegetable substances, except of the cryptogamia family, 
of which it supports numerous party-coloured tribes. 

The lesser fall of the Purthen, which is to be found 
about half a mile nearer Pont Neath Yaughan, is but a 
mimic representation of the same romantic features 
which compose the greater, and is exceedingly beautiful 
of its kind. 

Craig-y-Dinas rises at a short distance from Pont 
Neath Yaughan to the north-eastward, and is a bold 
precipitous limestone rock of great elevation, backed by 
the still higher land of Cilhepste-cerig. From the 
summit of this lofty crag I enjoyed a splendid prospect, 
looking down the lovely vale of Neath ; comprehending 


in the nearer view to the right and left the wooded 
mountain-hollows of Cwm Melte and Cwm Camgust^ 
sleeping in their solitary rock-environed retreats. Im- 
mediately below me flowed the small streamlet of the 
Sychrhid, or dry ford, as it is sometimes termed, which 
for a short space divides the counties of Brecknock and 
Glamorgan, and hurries by the foot of Craig-y-Dinas 
to join the Melte. 

Eventide was now slowly approaching, and the dis- 
tant prospects had already become dim and obscure, 
when I retraced my steps towards Pont Neath Vaughan. 
I lingered not to catch the little vignettes of natural 
beauty which every outlet offered to my sight ; for the 
shadowy clouds, which had been chasing each other 
with rapid motion through the day, were gathering into 
broader masses. One cloud of a more ominous cha- 
racter than the rest, had for some time hung its dark 
shroud in the north-east, on the top of the lofty Cefa 
Cadlan. The wind sighed long and heavily through 
the mountain-chasm, or swept in fitful gusts along the 
high ridges and openings. Before I reached my home 
at the little inn, however, it had dropped into a treach- 
erous calm. I was almost repining at the unnecessary 
haste with which I had quitted my prospect- ground on 
the hill, and abruptly interrupted that calm train of 
thought which takes possession of the mind as the 
fading landscape becomes less and less visible, and ''the 
shapes of earth are passing still away,'' when I was 
startled by the fliekering, restless motion of the leaves, 
which indicated that secret agitation of the fiir that 
almost always precedes a storm. The dark cloud of the 
CeCn Cadlan, which had been for some time stationary, 
appeared to be disruptured from its pinnacle, and rolling 


its surcharged body rapidly towards the village. I had 
scarcely entered^ aad bespoke the attentions of '' mine 
ho8f to supply the wants which my long walk had 
created, when the elemental strife began. The thunderj 
which had sounded at a distance, approached fearfully 
near — it no longer maintained that majestic roll which 
fills the mind with awe and reverence, but burst with a 
crackling explosion, that, by its proximity, inspired ter- 
ror and alarm. The forked lightning quivered in the 
welkin with awful velocity, and in almost unremitting 
succession, and seemed to light up all nature with an 
unearthly and spectral glow, by its ''sulphurous and 
thought-executing fires.'' The wind, which at the com- 
mencement of the storm had been uncertain and gusty, 
now increased to a wild hurricane; and the rain, in- 
stead of falling in large single drops as at first, soon 
descended in torrents. 

"Since I wu a man, 
Sach BheetB of fire, such bunts of horrid thunder. 
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never 
Bemember to have heard." 

It was some time before the storm abated, and then 
only gradually ; at length the wind, which before had 
swept along with such reckless fury, sighed itself, like a 
fretful and worn-out child, to rest. The " live thunder 
leaping from peak to peak'' had ceased to roar, and 
was only heard reverberating amongst the hills, awaken- 
ing their distant echoes. The lightning no longer 
darting, with a scorpion tongue, through the wide air, 
gently played, as if in sport, over the loftiest pinnacles 
of Bryndu, or along the enormous ridge of Y Fan 
Dringarth, and the torrent-rain subsided into a gentle 


refreshing shower. The tempest had continued so long, 
that it was near midnight ere I retired to rest. I threw 
open the casement of my window to enjoy, for a moment, 
tlie calm clear scene that had succeeded tothe tumultuous 
storm. The sky displayed its wide azure field, upon 
which the clouds lay in white fleecy folds, *' like a flock 
at rest,*' or if they gently moved, and obscured for a 
while the moon's quiet saintly face, it was only to part 
again before her renewed splendours, 

"As though a silv'ry veil were rent 
From the jewelled brow of a queen." 

The stars, those " eyes of heaven," shone with a bright- 
ness and intensity, only to be seen in these altitudes. 
Their restless fires seemed to glow with heavenly in- 
telligence and harmony, such as when they rejoiced 
together in the prime of the world ; or as they are 
painted by Lorenzo to his " little shrew,'* the "pretty 
Jessica,'* — 

" There's not the Bmallest orb which thou behold'st^ 
Bat in his motion like an angel singB, 
SUll qoiring to the yonng-ejed cherabiBa." 

A deep tranquillity, — a gentle, settled, and holy still- 
ness, — ^rested on all nature, and the pale, gleaming 
night looked like " a mellowed day." I closed my win- 
dow deeply touched with the marvellous beauty and 
unsearchable mystery of the scene. 

I now took my leave of Font Neath Vaughan, a little 
village which has some claim to consideration from its 
antiquity, but more from its delightful situation, being 
seated at the head of the interesting Yale of Neath, 
and surrounded, for many miles, by high, bleak, and 




romantic eloTations. I deem it right, however, before 
my departure, to correct many mis-statements which 
have been made respecting the rivers and mountain* 
torrents in this district. Having taken many a weary 
step, and scaled many a lofty ridge, to trace the sources 
of the streams which form the great Neath river, I can 
assure the gentle reader that he may receive my record 
with implicit faith. Looking north from the Angel Inn, 
the most westerly of these streams is the Purihen, 
which rises near Capel-Coelbren, and, after dividing the 
counties of Glamorgan and Brecon for four miles, fisJls 
into the Nealh-fychan, about a mile above Pont Neath 
Yaughan ; the latter stream rises due north, at a dis- 
tance of eight or ten miles among the hills. The Melte 
has also a northerly bearing ; it is formed by the con- 
fluence of two rivulets a mile above Ystradfelte, called 
Llia and Dringarth, and is afterwards augmented, 
within three miles of Pont Neath Yaughan, by the 
rapid torrent of the Hepste, rising nearly ten miles 
beyond, in one of the cwms near the summit of the 
Brecknockshire Beacon. In a meadow dose to the 
Angel Inn, the two rivers, Melte and Neath-fychan, 
unite their waters, and then begins the Neath river. 
There are, also, half a dozen minor streams in this 
vicinity, one of the most remarkable of which is the 
Sychrhid, near Craig-y-Dinas. 

An early breakfast prepared me to sustain the &tigue, 
and to accomplish the object, of another day's inspec- 
tion of the enchanting scenery so profusely spread 
around this neighbourhood. '' The breezy call of in- 
cense-breathing mom'' seemed to invite me forth to 
partake of the delights which Nature had prepared 


amidst her mountains and woodlands. The early birds 
were on the wing> making the air vocal with their 
melodj; and the shallow stream of the Neath-fychan 
rippled garrulously over its rocky bed. 

On departing from Pont Neath Yaughan, I took the 
same route as on the day before^ and ascended^ with 
renewed spirits and elastic step> the southern path that 
leads over Craig-y-Dinas. I stayed not to enjoy again 
the scenes of the past evenings but hastened forward 
to accumulate the treasures which almost every step 
afforded. It would have been impossible to have passed 
over the high ground of Cilhepstefach^ immediately 
beyond the broad rock I had just traversed^ without 
pausing to cast " one longings lingering look'' over the 
enchanting Vale of Neath. Pursuing my path over 
this elevated tracts I now first caught sight of that fine 
river^ the Hepste^ one of the objects of my search^ 
peacefully gliding through a richly-wooded dingle to 
the point where it joins its sister stream, the Melte. 

I traced a zigzag path on the high ground above the 
stream of the Hepste, and then threading my way 
down the cwm amidst a forest of trees and underwood, 
with the noise of the cascades constantly breaking upon 
the ear, reached the higher fall of the river. It con- 
sists of one broad sheet, and descends a distance of 
forty feet into a large and deep basin below. So rapid 
is the torrent, that the path to the other side of the 
stream is under the falling sheet of water, which roars 
with a deafening noise as its fretted stream reaches the 
bottom of the fall,-^then billowing in its deep channel, 
or making eddying circles as if to regain its wonted 
composure, it sends forward at last its majestic stream 


with the same joyous haste and swelling importance as 

On my path amidst the trees and rocks to the junc- 
tion of the two rivers^ I passed the three lower falls^ 
which the heavy storm of the preceding evening had 
increased to their full force of magnificent display. 
Having remained a considerable time amongst these 
remarkable scenes^ I once more turned away to the 
high ground^ almost relieved that the deafening sound 
of the roaring cataracts had subsided^ from the distance, 
into the solemn and ceaseless murmur that seems to 
pervade these regions. 

Passing the farmhouse of Cilhepste-coed, I directed 
my steps again towards the Melte. There are three 
waterfalls on this river; the most distinguished is called 
Clungwyn, and is the highest upon the stream; its 
peculiar characteristic is in the great volume of water 
it throws over an abrupt projection, at the height of 
seventy feet. There is no approaching it from below, 
all access being closed by the rocky precipitous banks 
of the river, and it loses the richer beauties which 
belong to the falls of the Hepste, while it maintains a 
successful rivalry in the more awful and sublime features 
of the mountain cataract. 

Advancing up the rich cwm of the Melte, I passed 
the farm of Hendre-bolon : pursuing my way again 
towards the stream, I reached another hollow, called 
Cwm Forth, in which is to be found that stupendous 
natural cavern, through the dark bottom of which the 
Melte runs for nearly four hundred yards, without in 
the slightest degree disturbing the incumbent surface 
of the land. The river rolls its dark tide beneath, and 





the harvest-field waves above^ as it has done for gene- 
rations past. 

The cavern of Cwm Perth is within two miles of 
Ystradfellte. The approach on the upper or northern 
part of the river is exceedingly picturesque ; but the 
visitor is not aware of the stupendous natural aqueduct 
he has the opportunity of exploring until he reaches 
the river^ when he feels the full force of its peculiar 
wildness and grandeur. On either side of the opening, 
numbers of forest and other trees, of great diversity of 
form and variety of foliage, grow spontaneously ; even 
in the fissures of the bold rocks, high above the head 
of the spectator, large trees are seen expanding towards 
the sky. At the entrance, the cavern is about forty 
feet wide and twenty high. There is sufficient light, 
on a fine day, for examining about fifty yards of this 
natural tunnel, when it gradually fades away into im- 
penetrable gloom, and nothing but the blaze of a flam- 
beau will enable the visitor to complete the inspection 
of this extraordinary place. 



And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb, 
When nil in mist the world belovr was lost, 
What dreadful pleasure f there to stand sabUme, 
Like shipwrecked mariner on desert coast, 
And view the enormous waste of vapour tossed 
In billows, lengthening to the horizon round, 
Now scooped in gulfs, with mountains now embossed t 
And hear the voioe of mirth and song rebound. 
Flocks, herds, and water&lls, along the hoar profound ! 


The inhabitant of one of the quiet rural districts qf 
" merry England/' whose eye has been accustomed to 
rest only upon the green slopes and flower-enamelled 
meadows of his native land, teeming with happy life 
and rich in verdant beauty, can form no adequate idea 
of the scene which is presented in a region of sterile 
rocks, interchanged only here and there by solitary 
cwms or hollows, where a scanty vegetation struggles 
for existence, and over which the foot of the enterprising 
traveller rarely treads. 

The county of Brecknock, like that of its neighbour 
Glamorgan, presents, in many parts, the same wild 
features of untamed nature that it did when the ancient 
lords of Cambria left it to the undisputed possession of 


its aboriginal tenants, the foxes,'^ while they chose their 
more genial dwelling-places in the fertile vales lying 
east of the Severn. 

The lofty ridge of the Epynt Mountains stretches 
itself in a north-easterly direction, from the confines of 
Carmarthenshire, nearly up to the little town of Builth, 
dividing the county of Brecknock into two unequal 
parts. The southern portion of the county sustains a 
chain of enormous rocky elevations, commencing also 
in the neighbouring county of Carmarthen, and con- 
tinuing, in successive ridges, till it terminates in the 
east near the Usk, a little below the town of Crickhowel. 
Between these chains, to the westward, and appearing 
as if to make up the circle of rocks, rises abruptly the 
Black Mountain, near to the small hamlet of Talgarth. 

The old road, as it is called, from YstradfeUte to 
Brecknock, traverses the mountain district, and as it 
comprehended many of the wild features of the county, 
I chose it for my track as far as my wanderings might 
render it available. About two miles from the village, 
I came to another fall of the Melte, which, although 
extremely picturesque, from the angular direction in 
which the river is projected, is unaccompanied either by 
the luxuriant vegetation, or the romantic character, 
which give so much beauty and interest to the others. 
Beyond this fiall the scene became indescribably dreary. 
Immediately before and around me arose hill after hill, 
in weary succession, whose dull monotonous brown turf 
afforded but a bare existence to the meagre flocks that 
sought their pasture. On the verge of my path towered 

* The primitiTe name of BrecknockBhire was Garth Madrin, the 


the bald rocky summits of Y Fan-Uia and Y Fan-nedd, 
like guardian giants of the district over which I was 
travelling. That portion of the great Strata Montana, 
known by the name of Sarn Helen^ traverses for a con- 
siderable length of way the same elevated direction; 
but the track of the haughty Roman diverges off west- 
erly, near to a great stone, called Maenllia, that is con- 
spicuously placed on this spot, and gradually descends 
on the south side of the pleasant vale of Senni, towards 
the point where it joins the Julia Strata, on its road to 
the great station of Oaer. My path bent in an easterly 
direction, and brought me to the head of the precipi- 
tous dingle of Cwm-du, through which it passes, skirted 
on the right by the lofty mountain-ridge of Y Fan- 
irynach, nearly up to the town of Brecknock. Fa- 
tigued by the difficult road I had been for some time 
traversing, and wearied with the stern aspect of those 
eternal rocks, I determined to sojourn here awhile, and 
seek the genial relief of a day's placid retreat to the 
rich valley of the Usk. 

I rose early ; for to me a morning in waning autumn 
yields the greatest enjoyment, which the seasons, in 
their ceaseless revolution, afford. There is a peculiar 
freshness in the early air, which animates the spirits, 
and raises up pleasant images in the mind — 

" It fiuiB the feyenah brow, 
And cheerily re-illames the lambent flame of Ufa" 

There is a rich composure in the manifold colours of 
the forest leaves, and a mellow harmony, that naturally 
belong to the time of the year, all of which throw their 
influence over the feelings. Besides this, in an autumn 


day are those frequent changes^ which possess an inef- 
fable charm for the wayward mind« The copious dews 
of the prime are sometimes dispersed by the rising sun^ 
darting his intermittent ray through the opening lids 
of the morning clouds^ like the bright eye of some 
heavenly being, and pouring a flood of light from his 
molten fountain, with an intensity and a fierceness 
which midsummer fails to bring. Then there is the 
uncertain wind, which sweeps in sudden and capricious 
gusts, scattering the bright leaves, and whirling them 
in eddies all around; there is the drizzling shower, 
pattering monotonously, but not unmusically, amongst 
the forest trees ; and then, not unfrequentfy, there is 
the wild tempest to close up the evening. 

The river Usk rises in the mountain-range called the 
Carmarthenshire Fan, which divides the counties at 
their westerly point, near Trecastle. From this place 
it rolls its tide in an easterly course towards Breck- 
nock and Crickhowel, where it enters the county of 
Monmouth, and, passing by the towns of Abergavenny, 
Usk, Caerleon, and Newport, empties itself through its 
estuary into the Severn. The lower vale is the most 
luxuriant and romantic ; but the passage of the river 
from Trecastle to the town in which I was sojourning, 
or along the Upper Vale, as it is called, has its own 
peculiar beauties. The road from Trecastle runs on 
the right of the river, sometimes rising in the form of 
a terrace above it, and again tracing its undulating line 
by the side of its silvery stream, sharing in all the 
beauties of its devious course. The Cray and the 
Isker pour their waters into its channel before it reaches 
Brecknock. The pleasant villages of Llanspyddid and 


Aberisker may be seen from its banks ; and the Boman 
encampment on a rising ground, near the confluence of 
the Isker and the Usk, will detain and delight the anti- 
quarian in his researches. This beautiful river derives 
much of its captivating character from the magnificent 
timber that decorates its shelving banks, and from the oc- 
casional glades and openings they afford, through which 
the clear bright stream is seen meandering and flowing 
in its course. The eye of the Wanderer, which had 
gazed with inexpressible delight upon these enchanting 
scenes, was in an especial manner refreshed when he 
came, unexpectedly, within sight of the romantic bridge 
of Pont Pwl Gwyn, stretching its single chord across 
the channel of the river. Fir-trees of extraordinary 
growth, such as are rarely seen but in this district, 
reared high their green peaks in the foreground, and 
groves of majestic oaks mingled their varied autumnal 
hues in one rich and harmonious combination, from the 
summits of the verging banks to the water's edge. 
The looming line of distant hills, irradiated with the 
last rays of the setting sun, formed the back-ground of 
this exquisite picture, while the gentle Usk glided in 
soft imruffled beauty through the tranquil scene. 

Brecknock, or to recall its ancient and more classical 
name of Aberhonddu, derived from the circumstance 
of its standing at the point where the Honddu unites 
its waters with the Usk, is one of the pleasantest towns 
in the Principality. Old Churchyard describes it, in 
his day, as 

"Well«bailt withoat, yea trim and fayre within, 
With sweet prospect, that shall your favour win." 

It possesses architectural remains which connect it with 

/ V 

, O 


the most important events of past ages, and is sur- 
rounded by natural objects of the most sublime and 
beautiful character. It was anciently encircled by a 
wall, which, in Speed's time, was perfect, surmounted 
by ten towers, at nearly equal distances, and had five 
gates of entrance. The castle, which was one of the 
earliest structures of this description in Wales, once 
occupied the brow of an abrupt hill, on a point of land 
washed on the south and east by the waters of the 
Honddu. It was built by the Norman, Bernard de 
Newmarch, after his signal defeat of the Welsh in this 
district, with a magnificence and strength calculated to 
overawe his conquered subjects. It arose in the latter 
part of the eleventh century, and has passed through 
several powerful families, who successively improved 
and enlarged it, till it was besieged, and nearly de- 
stroyed, in the Civil Wars between Charles and his 
Parliament. Its proud bearing on the banks of the 
subject waters of the Honddu and Usk, with the 
chivalric passages and baronial splendour which mark 
its eventful history, are all, however, reduced to a few 
miserable ruins ; but the rivers still glide on as hereto- 
fore — with the same eagerness and impetuosity as they 
did when the Norman trod upon their banks. Old 
Giraldus tells a singular story in relation to the founder 
of the castle, which I shall give in the chronicler's 
words : — " This Bemarde'' (says he) '^ had a faire wife, 
called Nesta, whiche was greatly in love with a gentle- 
man whiche haunted her chamber, whiche thinge, as 
Bemarde's son, Mabel, espied, he lay in awayte for him, 
and beate him; the mother (to make argument of a 
woman's malice) mad haste to Kinge Henry I., and in 




his presence avowed upon her oonsciens that he was 
bom from iinlawfull conversatioDj whereupon the kinge 
gave her daughter^ Sybil, which remayned (by her own 
confession legitimate), and the honor of Brecnoc, to 
Miles Fitzwalter, his constable, whiche was after Earle 
of Hereford." Of this confession. Barton says : — " That 
if true, it declared her dishonesty ; if false, her perjury; 
but whether true or false, her matchless impudence." 
There is a circumstance of too much historical impor- 
tance in relation to this lady to be passed oyer in 
silence. When Macbeth, the tyrant of Scotland, 
murdered Banquo, his son Fleance fled for protection 
to the court of Gryffydd ap Llewelyn, the grandfather 
of Nest, of whom he became enamoured. An illicit 
connection followed, and a son, afterwards named 
Walter, was the consequence. The indignant Gryfiydd 
commanded Fleance to be put to death for this breach 
of hospitality and honour, but his son was treated with 
kindness, and educated in the martial exercises of the 
age. Upon some reproach being cast upon his birth 
by one of his companions, Walter killed his antagonist 
and fled into Scotland. Here he distinguished himself 
in the public service, and became lord steward of the 
realm, and the lineal ancestor of the royal house of 

The side of the castle was a parallelogram, with a 
massy inward wall and strong angular watch-towers. 
The entrance was on the western and eastern sides, 
with a deep moat surrounding the whole, over which 
were thrown bridges of communication. The principal 
part now remaining is that which once formed the keep, 
on an artificial mound to the north-east, designated Ely 

BRECON. 307 

Tower, from its having been the place of imprisonment 
to Moreton, bishop of Ely. To this gloomy tower did 
the crafty Buckingham repair, when disappointed of 
the ambitious hopes which the crooked-back tyrant had 
led him to indulge, to hold a secret conference with the 
imprisoned bishop ; and here did these wily politicians 
concert the plan which, in its progress, led the warrior 
to the scajfold, and the churchman to the highest 
honours of the hierarchy. It may be useful for the 
reader to know, that these ruins of the castle now 
ornament the lawn of the inn, which has taken its 
name from this circumstance, and I would furthermore 
recommend him, from my own experience, to these 
excellent quarters during his stay at Brecon. 

It is curious to contemplate that union of devout 
feeling with natural ferocity and social injustice, which 
distinguished this age of military adventure and con- 
quest. There is, indeed, no truth-telling diary placed 
upon record, — no secret confession that has escaped 
from under the seal, — ^which discloses those secret 
operations of the mind that led to this singular con- 
nection, except it were as the historian has written, " to 
make atonement for vice and irregularity/' but the 
fact is demonstrated by the numerous religious houses 
which the Norman conquerors of this country every- 
where erected. The lord of Brecknock, in accordance 
with the character of the times, when he had sub- 
jugated the inhabitants of this district, reared at once 
the fortress, which has just been described, to con- 
solidate his conquest, and a Benedictine priory, which 
he dedicated to the apostle St. John, and whose holy 
brotherhood ministered spiritual instruction and con- 

X 2 


308 BRECON. 

solation in the chapel built within the fortress. The 
priory, with its church bearing the same apostolical 
designation, occupied a situation near to the castle, on 
the western bank of the Honddu. The former has 
almost entirely disappeared, save an embattled waU, 
and a portion of the old building now used for stables 
and out-ofSces, while a comparatively modem mansion 
bears its title and occupies its sitc^ The inner area of 
the priory grounds is laid with a green carpet of 
nature's own weaving, and the ancient walls of the 
church and priory are matted over with a level covering 
of the most verdant ivy. The walk by the sloping side 
of the brawling Honddu bears a forest of sycamores 
and walnuts of great luxuriance and age, and was once 
used as the ambulatory of the good old monks. The 
aged domestic of the place shook his head when I asked 
him the date of their planting, and resorting to the 
usual mode of computation with all grey-beards, 
replied, " Why, Sir, I am seventy years old come next 
Candlemas, and I remember they were fine trees when 
I was a boy." The church has been preserved with 
great care, and displays the peculiar features of its 
origin and history through so many generations; the 
repairs and embellishments, which have been so fre- 
quently supplied, have been made with much taste, and 
correspond as nearly as possible with the original struc- 
ture. It is ornamented with some ancient and modem 

* '* In this house, Charles I., tfter the battle of Naseby, dined with 
Sir Hubert Price, and slept on the 5th Angnst, 1645. From henoe 
he despatched a letter to Prince Charles, then in Cornwall, in which he 
seems dearlj to foresee his ikte, and advises his son to quit the 
kingdom, and flee to France." — Joneis Bredmockthire, 

BEECON. 809 

monaments of exquisite design and execution^ and 
contains what are called the Yicar^s and the Marquis of 
Camden's Chapels. The whole pavement of the tran- 
sept is covered with " long flat stones/' the mortuary 
memorials of those who have lived and died, and the 
extent of which is divided by what are termed the 
Battle Chapel, — ^the Chapel of the Men of Battle, — and 
the Capel Cochaiad, or chapel of the red-haired men, 
as the Normans were called. 

St. John's^ or the Priory Church, is built in the form 
of a cross, from the centre of which rises an embattled 
tower. The churchyard is an object of great interest. 
Instead of sweet-scented flowers, the green turf of the 
graves is adorned with sprigs of the laurel and box, 
which the hand of affection has placed there, according 
to the custom of this county.* Venerable yew-trees, 
of prodigious growth and age, claim almost a coexistent 
antiquity with the consecrated building, with some 
splendid specimens of the sycamore, and throw an air 
of deep solemnity over the scene. 

"All that have died, the Earth's whole race repose 
Where Death collects his treasures, heap on heap ; 
O'er each one's busy day the night shades close ; 
lis actors, sufferers, schools, kings, armies — sleep,** 

The tongue of land, near which the priory stands, has 
furnished to the inhabitants of Brecon one of the most 
beautiful public promenades in the empire. The walks 
are traced in undulating lines through the luxuriant 
groves that cover its surface, carrying their umbrageous 
shade down to the brink of the river, while the Honddu 

* The unfortunate Dr. Dodd, who was attached to this prebendary, 
has celebrated this interesting usage by a beautiful little poem. 


810 BRECON. 

continues to sweep round this miniature headland, roll- 
ing its ceaseless stream as restless and turbulent as in 
ages that are gone for ever. 

There is also the church of Saint Mary, which stands 
in the centre of the town. It, however, contains but 
few monuments of interest, and is principally admired 
for its ancient steeple, and the eight musical bells it 
contains, oast by Mr. Rudhall, of Gloucester. 

Besides the Benedictine priory, there was another 
building of the same character, near the east end of the 
town, of the order of St. Dominic, which is said to have 
been erected by the same renowned Norman. This might 
have been the case but for one chronological fact, that 
the saint did not live till after the warrior was dead. 
This institution was transformed into a seat of learning 
by Henry VIII., at the general confiscation of religious 
houses, which took place in his reign, with the title of 
the "College of Christ Church, Brecknock,'' and in 
the church anciently belonging to this monastery, dedi- 
cated to St. Nicholas, were buried the three bishops, 
!Mainwaring, Lucy, and Bull. This relic is in a most 
dilapidated state, pervious to the rain, which at the 
time I visited it was dripping through the roof, and 
falling upon the black and mouldy floor in melancholy 
and measured iteration. The old sanctuary has, how- 
ever, some monuments besides those of the good 
bishops, including two recumbent figures in alabaster, 
and a full-length statue of Colonel Walker, once the 
recorder of the town. 

Nothing could appear more painfully desolate than 
this deserted edifice, in which, the old clerk informed 
me, there had not been divine service performed for 

BRECON. 311 

more than tliree years^ except an annual charity sermon, 
to which appertained a bequest sufficient to pay the lec- 
turer for his discourse^ and a dole of bread for the poor. 
The empty stalls stand in a rank round the damp and 
dingy walls, marked with the names of the parishes 
which they represent, and the offices of dean, precentor, 
and treasurer. The aged official, at my elbow, said 
some very hard things about the appropriation of the 
funds of this establishment; but the most melancholy 
circumstance he had to tell, was that his own occupa- 
tion was gone, and that the chapter was in debt to him 
thirty or forty pounds in the way of salary, which 
seemed to his foreboding mind to be in imminent 
jeopardy. The learned author of the History of 
Brecknockshire has bestowed upon the ecclesiastical 
authorities of his time a just rebuke for their neglect 
of the sacred edifices in this county ; and surely some 
portion of this censure may be properly applied to the 
appointed conservators of this venerable building. It 
must be confessed, indeed, that the traveller, especially 
the antiquarian traveller, is disposed to look with 
mournful interest upon the ruins of ancient buildings, 
either on account of their architectural grandeur and 
beauty, or their association with great names, and the 
important and picturesque passages of history. There 
is, as a very pleasant writer has said, " an exquisite pro- 
vision of Nature, in this tendency of the human mind 
to prefer by-gone times to the present, because it leads 
us to respect the past, like the memory of the dead, and 
retain of it only what is beautiful and good.'^* But 

* "Letters from the Shores of the Baltic," one of the most liyely 
and sensible among the many books of travels that are published. 


312 BRECON. 

the traveller should not forget^ while he expends his 
regrets upon a fallen fabric, like this of Christ Church, 
to inquire whether the real purpose of its erection has 
not been supplied hj more suitable buildings, and by a 
process of religious instruction better adapted to the 
wants of the community with which it is connected. I 
felt too much interest in the fate of the old edifice, not 
to seek for information from the best authorities on 
this point, and I have a lively satisfaction in giving the 
result of my inquiry in the words of my intelligent 
The old weather-beaten parochial church of St. David 

* "The re&l CAiue why tlie cburcli lias not yet been repMred ia^ 
that at present) it is not wanted for the aocommodation of any part of 
the population of Brecon, which is sufficiently provided for elsewhere, 
so that if restored at this moment, it would answer no purpose but that 
of gratifying the eye and the feelings of those who take an interest in 
the fabric. This is so clear, that the xmder-eecretary of the Eccle- 
siastical Commissioners (into whose hands the funds of the college are 
passing for the augmentation of small liviogs) having, some months 
back, examined the building, and made himself acquainted with the 
fetate of the case, expressed his opinion that it would be better to 
let it go to decay, and that, at all eyents, the Ecclesiastical Com* 
missioners would not feel themselves justified in applying any of 
the funds derived from the college to its restoration. Nevertheless, 
a hope is entertained that, if the college school (which has been in a 
declining state since the establishment of St. David's College, at 
Lampeter) can be revived and enlarged, as has been contemplated, it 
may, at the same time, be found practicable and expedient to repair the 
church for the use of the school. Of the persons connected with this 
establishment, it is but just to add, that they are some of the most 
hard-working clergymen in the Church of England ; persona who are 
engaged more laboriously, as well as more usefully, than they would be 
ii they were every day performing a service in the college church to 
empty walls." 


BRECON. 313 

is not far from the moaldering remnant of the church 
of Christ's College. It was formerly situated in a 
fields and from that circumstance called St. David's in 
the Field. It possesses little to engage the visitor^ 
except its age and connection with ancient days. In 
this parish^ nearly at the foot of the Beacons^ lived the 
learned Dr. John David Bhys^ the author of the C^tti- 
raeae lAngvuB Insiitutiones, who pays a high compli- 
ment to the inhabitants of Brecknockshire in his pre- 
face to that work. " I believe from my soul/' he says, 
"that there is no part of the Principality wherein the 
nobility, gentry, and eommonalty are more worthy, 
whose mansions are more stately, where the dainties 
and delicacies of the table are more sumptuous, and 
the people of all ranks more distinguished for the 
neatness of their apparel, their kindness, or their 
hospitality, than the inhabitants of the county of 
Brecknock.'* ! 

The town of Brecon contains some excellent public | 

buildings, amongst which may be reckoned the Market : 

Hall, built by Mr. Griffiths, of this place, from a design 
by Mr. Wyatt, of London, at a cost of about 5,000/. ; 
and a County Hall, erected of pure Bath stone, under 
the direction of the same talented architect, by Mr. 
Hancom, of Brecon. This latter is a Grecian building, 
and forms a beautiful object to greet the traveller's 
sight as he enters the town by way of Crickhowel. It 
stands upon an area, along the side of which extends a 
public promenade, called the Captain's Walk, pleasantly 
shaded by poplars and sycamores, with the XJsk flowing 
merrily at its base. The total cost of this building is 


about 7^000/.^ and does great credit to the artist and 
the county. 

The neighbourhood of Brecon possesses that inde- 
finable charm which history and romance throw around 
the wild scenes of Nature. On the north and west lie 
the scattered fragments of British, and Roman camps 
and intrenchments^ and the battle-field in| which 
Welsh independence expired ; on the south and east 
rise^ in gigantic splendour, the forms of those magni- 
ficent mountains which have frowned alike on the 
passing generations of their British, Koman, and Nor- 
man possessors. Mount Denny, whose divaricated 
peaks are known by the modem name of the Breck- 
nockshire Beacons, stretches itself in a southerly direc- 
tion from Brecknock, tlirough a lengthened succession 
of undulating ridges, thrown into a variety of fimtastic 
shapes, over which the clouds sweep in their racking 
career, or hang in graceful floating drapery of the most 
exquisite tissue. The more elevated and northern peaks 
are called Cader Arthur, or the Chair of Arthur. 
There is both a romantic and historical association 
with these enormous piles of rocks, as the renowned 
hero whose name they bear may be contemplated 
through the fables of poetry or the facts of history. 
In the phraseology of the bards, a public assembly of 
their body was always termed the " Chair of Song.'* 
These minstrel gatherings were invariably made in the 
open air, on some elevated place, or, in their figurative 
language, ''under the eye of the sun;*' and as the 
Knight of the Bound Table, during his reign, held a 
grand national meeting of the bards, the historian has 
assigned this majestic hill as the spot to which they 


repaired from all parts of the Principality^ and where 
the institutes of their order were framed.* 

While the morning dew yet rested upon the green 
meadows^ I set forward upon my route to Crickhowel. 
The road — and a cheerful one it is — ^runs along an 
elevated ridge that bisects the valley, and passes through 
the little places of Llanhamlach, Seethrog, and Llan- 
saintfread, and ascends the mountain-pass of Bwlch. 
On the right of the traveller flows the lively Usk, with 
the musical waters of the Cynrig, the Tarrell, and the 

* It may be to the adyantage of the tourist to inform him in this 
place, that one of the best views of the Beacons is obtained from the 
lawn at the western end of the Castle Inn. Although apparently only 
about two miles distant, I found the ascent occupied several hours of 
persevering exertion. Taking the Merthyr road as far as Llyn y celyn, 
I branched off to the left, passing through the opening between the 
hills, called Gwm-Uwch, to the summit of the highest eminence. The 
scene was indescribably grand : westerly, lay Llyn cwm-Uwch, a small 
lake below the Beacons, at a height probably of 2,500 feet above the 
sea ; beyond it the farm of Ty-mawr, the highest on the mountains ; 
below which is the road from Merthyr to Brecon, and in the extreme 
distance, Moel fendy and the Carmarthenshire hills. To the north 
were traced, as in a map, the divisions of land below, dotted here and 
there with whitewashed houses ; beyond, the town of Brecon and 
the river Usk; and bounding the distant horizon, the hills near 
Builth. On the east, the lake of Llynsfiiddu and the Cradle Moun- 
tains. Southerly, a stupendous range of mountains, one rising beyond 
the other as far as Merthyr Tydvil, and more westerly to Pont Neath 
Vaughan. The vapours that sometimes invest the Beacons are so 
dense, that the traveller is in danger of filing over its precipitous 
side. The officers of a regiment, lying at Brecon, once made the 
ascent ; but the night coming on, the thick mist covered the summit 
like a shroud, and they were obliged to remain in that uncomfortable 
situation till the following morning afforded them the means of a safe 
descent. Dr. Johnson says : " He that mounts precipices, wonders 
how he came there, and doubts how he shall return. His walk is an 
adventure, and his departure an escape." 


Mahasdn^ meandering through the vale to swell its 
broad channel ; and the villages of Cantreff, Llanfry- 
nach^ and Llanfigan lying near its banks, shut in by 
the enormous range of the Brecknockshire Beacons. 
AU this is classic ground. Here it was that the Roman 
general had his campus testivus, or summer residence^ 
with those appliances of luxury which that refined 
people ever associated with their dwelling-places. 
Here, too, was the battle-field and Druidical sepulchres 
of noble Britons, who struggled and fell in defence of 
their patrimonial and national rights. Here, also, the 
birthplace of learned men, renowned in science, and 
deeply versed in the lore of philosophy and divinity. 

Not far from the Bwlch pass the river makes a horse- 
shoe bend, near the point of which is the hamlet of 
Llandetty, and within its curve may be distinctly seen 
the mansion and grounds of Buckland. On the ex- 
treme left stretch the bleak summits of the Black 
Mountains, and underneath them lies Brecknock Mere, 
called severally Llynsavaddan Lake, or Llangorse Pool, 
with the little hamlets of Llangasty tSl y Uyn, Llan- 
gorse, and Cathedine. Not far from the first of these 
places, in the parish of Llanhamlach, is a farm called 
Mannest, and near it a hillock, upon which is the 
cromlech known under the name of Saint lUtid's Her- 
mitage.* The elevated region of Bwlch places all these 

* Of this holy man, the father of leammg in South Wales, and 
whose fame lives in Brecknockshire, it is becoming just to give a slight 
sketch. St. Illtid came from Armorica to Britain with St. Grermanus, 
to preach down the Pelagian heresy, and founded a seminary at 
Llantwit, in Glamorganshire, which flourished for several centuries, 
and produced many learned and pious fathers of the British Church. 
" When this object was accomplished, and he saw his school rising in 


in beautifal perspective before the traveller's eye; and 
such is the extent of the prospect^ that he may gaze 
upon it for hours with ever fresh delight. The pass has 
been cut through the heart of the Bwlch mountain^ on 
which a comfortable inn has been built in opposition to 
the ancient hostelrie^ and now the Old and the New Star 
shine in rivalry to each other for the solace of the weary 
traveller. From this place the road rapidly descends to 
Crickhowel, with the solitary vestige of Tretower Castle 
close to the stream of the RhiangoU on the left, which 
ought to detain for awhile the pilgrim^s foot, were it 
only to recall the scenes of its past history, and to 
regale his eye with the wild flowers which now flourish 
in unmolested seclusion, where nobles and knights had 
used to meet together in council, or from which they 
hurried forth to war.* Farther on, Glanusk, the man- 
sion of Mr. Bailey, who is said to be the wealthiest 
iron-master in Great Britain, rises beautifully on the 
right bank of the river, with its bridge in architectural 
keeping with the style of the building; and on the 
other side, in a more elevated situation, Penngarth, the 

fiune, and his diadples qualified to protect and support the institation, 
he did not confine his talents or his labours to a college or a county, 
but commiserating the state of intellectual darkness with which the 
IVincipality was then OTerspread, he ooaceived it his duty to com- 
municate the light and truths oi the Gk>8pel, and the precepts of wisdom, 
to the inhabitants of Breconshir^ where undoubtedly he resided." 
Many tales are told ot St. lUtid, one of which is, that he had an animal 
half a horse and half a stag, that used to bring his provisions firom 

* The defence of this castle, at the time of Glyndwr*s insurrection, 
was intrusted to Sir James Berkley. A branch oi the great Roman 
road, called the Strata Julia, passed through the yillage of Tretower, 
to the station of Gaer, in Cwmdu. 


residence of his son ; and Owemvale^ the seat of Mr. 
Gwynne.* The traveller now enters the little town of 
Crickhowel by the old embattled gateway^ which once 
formed part of the castellated mansion of the first 

There are few of the &ir prospects of earth that can 
equal the valley of the Usk. It does not consist^ like 
many others, of a strip of fertile land, formally guarded 
by elevated ridges, and jealously confined within limits, 
over which the eye can sweep at one view; but it 
throws itself out into a series of verdant circles, as- 
cending the hill-sides, and dipping down to the brink 
of the flowing river. The gigantic barriers in the ex- 
treme distance consist of the Brecknockshire Beacons 
on one side, and the dark range of the Black Moun- 
tains on the other. From the champaign lying within 
these, spring mountain after mountain of inferior ele- 
vation, with tiny vales running from their bases, and 
filling the intervening space with fallowed fields and 
green meadows, or else, it may be, embracing narrow 
friths, through which run the whimpering rivulets that 
feed the noble stream, shadowed by foliage, and dressed 
in all the coloured pigments of the season. The rest- 
less eye of the traveller ranges along the outline of the 
landscape which lies within his vision, and descending 
to the green bottom, he fancies that the Usk has dis- 
closed all the beauties that lie upon its banks ; but as 
his step advances, he throws his gaze upon another and 
another still fairer prospect, endlessly diversified by the 
sinuous outUnes of the mountains, which again and 

* The celebrated Dr. Croxall, translator of ** iEsop*B Fables," and 
author of Tarious other worka^ formerly redded in thia maanon. 


again rise to direct his sight along their swelling breasts, 
and deep recesses. This is truly the " Valley of Sweet 
Waters/' where early Spring, with her cuckoo voice, 
calls up young life from the cradle of the year; where 
Sununer revels, and '' the great sun,'' 

" Robed in flames and amber light/ 

makes his regal procession along a sky of pure cobalt, 
shedding his brightest beams on mountain-peak and 
hoary hill, and descending, like an angel visitor, to 
cheer up every sheltered nook ; where Autumn pours 
from her horn the rich treasures she has gathered from 
the rolling seasons, and paints the woods with the 
glowing hues of the skies. The gentle rains descend 
on this favoured valley, from the " high chambers" of 
the cloudy firmament, and the bride of Zephyrus covers 
the teeming land with a spangled garment of many 
colours. The gladsome Usk, like a traveller bent on a 
long pilgrimage, hurries forward, making incessant 
music, and adding its hoarse bass notes to the clear 
trebles of the woods. A liquid harmony floats through 
the air, and the late and early tints mingle in grateful 
composure over the beautiful complexion of Nature. 
River, and field, and forest, are full of rejoicing life. 
Sunbeams, and '' frolic winds,'' and shadows of the 
passing clouds, chase each other over the flowery land- 
scape. Heaven smiles on Earth, and Earth gives back 
her incense and her melody. Nor is this all. It is not 
Nature dwelling alone amidst her secret haunts, or 
walking pensively through her sweet solitudes ; but it 
is man, immortal man, dwelling with Nature — congre- 
gated into villages occupying the most beautiful spots 



of the YzWej, with homesteads fraught with domestic 
affections^ and sanctuaries figuring out to the thought- 
ful mind another and a better country^— or households 
nestling round the private hearth in lovely vale or 
bosky dingle^ — or whitewashed cottages on mountain- 
side, or even mountain-top. It is beautiful Nature, 
like a young mother, with her sleeping infant on her lap, 
or with her gathered families of earth, laughing and 
playing at her feet. Such is the valley of the Usk, of 
which a native poet of the seventeenth century has 
thus sung : — 

"May thy gentle Bwaines like flowers 
Sweetly spend their youthiol hours. 
And thy beauteous nymphs like doves 
Be kind and faithful to their loves. 
Garlands, and songs, and roundelays, 
Mild dewie nights and sunshine dayes. 
The turtle's voice, joy without fear, 
Dwell on thy bosom all the year — 
The faotour winds from hr shall bringe 
The gathered odours of the springe. 
And loaden with the rich arrear. 
Spend them in spicie whispers here.*' 

Crickhowel, which Leland calls ''a preati tounlet, 
standing in the valley upon Wyske,'' is built on the 
shelving side of a gentle hill. It is of considerable 
antiquity, and is supposed to have been founded by 
Howel Dda, in the tenth century. There are but few 
fragments of its ancient castle remaining, save one dis- 
mantled tower, now overgrown with ivy, and the ruins 
of a gateway, both of them performing servile offices 
very much at variance with their former dignity. The 
keep, or citadel, once occupied a lofty artificial mound. 


whose slopes are now covered with trees of considerable 
growth^ and so elevated^ that the eye commands from 
it a range of the most interesting objects in this pic- 
turesque district. Traces of broken walls may be seen ; 
and the grass-green field that lies at the gazer's foot 
constituted, most probably, the inner and outer Valiums 
of the old fortress. This castle was fortified by Sir 
John Pauncefote, under a commission firom Henry IV., 
to resist the forces of Owen Glyndwr, by whom, 
according to the obscure records that remain, it was 
eventually taken and demolished. Sir Ehys ap Thomas, 
when he was marching to Shrewsbury, to meet Henry 
the Seventh, passed through Crickhowel, and planted 
the standard of that monarch on the top of a street, 
which has been called from that circumstance, Standard 

The church, which is cruciform in its style, and 
dedicated to St. Edmund the king and martyr,"^ by 
which name the parish was anciently called, is dis- 
tinguished by having the only spire in the county of 
Brecknock. It contains two old monuments to the 
Pauncefote family ; a more modem one in alabaster of 
Sir John Herbert, knight, and Joan, his wife; an 
exquisitely sculptured tablet to the Rev. H. Vaughan, 
late vicar of the parish, of whom the good people of 
Crickhowel speak in terms of great affection; and a 

* Hiifl royal mint, as hiBtories inform us, wm maaaacred by the 
Danish general Hinguar, about the. year 871. The Btory of his death, 
as related by a monkish writer, quoted by Camden, marks the barbarity 
of the times in which he lived : ** He was bound to a tree and had his 
body all oyer mangled with arrows ; to increase his pain, they did with 
showers of arrows make wound on wound, till the darts gave place to 
one another." — Jona^$ ffiatory of JSredcnode, 



monument in white marble to Mrs. Gwynne, of Gwem- 
vale^ presenting a beautiful figure of a female leaning 
upon an anchor^ surmounted by a dove bearing an olive 
branch. An old effigy in steel cap and chain armour, 
and another of the warrior's lady-love, lie, in a muti- 
lated condition, within the recesses of two arches, 
behind the seats of Glan-y-Bafon and Dan-y-Castle, 
as if in these modem days they were to be cast like 
worthless things away, though they are considered to 
represent the ancient founders, or re-founders, of the 
church. The churchyard is an interesting spot, and 
has some fine specimens of the willow and poplar 

The old gateway before mentioned gives its name of 
Forth mawr to a modem mansion, the residence of 
Mr. Ormerod, and is worth looking through for the 
beautiful perspective it affords of the surrounding 
scenery, including Glanusk and Penmiarth, the Bwlch 
hills, the spreading vale, and the winding river. 

The village of Llangattock lies at an easy distance 
on the opposite side of the Usk, and was too tempting 
an object to be left unvisited by the Wanderer. The 
church is an ancient structure, dedicated to St. Cadog, 
who lived about the middle of the fifth century ; but it 
has been frequently repaired, and is in some degree 
modernized. The old porch is the most venerable part 
of it, and contains the original font for holy water, 
belonging to our fathers of the " ancient faith." The 
walls sustain many monuments, but none particularly 
interesting for their design or execution. The vestry is 
modem, and fitted up in excellent taste, the whole of 
which was the munificent gift of Mr. Bailey, of Glan- 


usk. The churchyard possesses an old mutilated cross, 
and manifold painted monuments of the dead, in which 
are the memorials of extraordinary longevity, that 
prove the salubrity of this place, — five inscriptions 
making up the long term of five hundred years. Two 
"gnarled yews of deep undated roof fling their ve- 
nerable branches over this place of sepulture, and on 
the outside of the wall is the most magnificent walnut, 
for age and size, and breadth of limb, that is, perhaps, 
to be found in the kingdom. In the limestone rock 
above the village, is a large cavern, called Eglwys Faen, 
or the Bock Church ; and in this parish is the Carno 
Mountain, where a severe battle was fought between 
Roderick Molwynog, prince of North Wales, and 
Ethelbald, king of Merda, in the eighth century ; two 
carn%^ still remain to mark the spot. 

Every one who travels to this comer of the county of 
Brecknock, at least every one that has an eye and a 
soul for the marvellous beauties with which the Grod 
of Nature has adorned this earth, stays his wandering 
foot upon the bridge that is thrown across the Usk 
between Crickhowel and Llangattock, to contemplate 
the scenery which discloses itself on either side. This 
pontile structure is built of hard granite, and consists 
of thirteen arches, some of which are covered in part 
with ivy. From the bend of the river the upper reach 
extends to a short distance, and, but for the lively 
current, would have the appearance of an inland lake, 
fringed by a wood of bowing branches that dip them- 
selves in the stream. Beyond is a revelation of the 
open face of nature, with all its extraordinary and 
beautiful features, comprehending the magnificent out- 

Y 2 


line of the Black Mountains marked on the fiiur-off 
horison to the right ; the Bwlch range travermng the 
distant plain ; the green hill that shuts in Crickhowel 
▼ale ; the Tale itself in all its colours and boundaries^ 
with the merry river singing its ceaseless song to the 
pleasant homesteads that rise upon its enamelled banks. 
Below the bridge, the river descends the rapids with a 
thundering torrent^ as if in fellowship with the majesty 
of the surrounding scenery. On the right are the 
limestone rocks of Llangattock, worn and cut into a 
thousand fantastic forms, and reflecting back the light 
in coloured hues, richly harmonizing with the mingled 
foliage which the eye embraces. In front is the Bloiens 
range, lying against the sky like a huge serpent; and 
on the left the cone of the Sugar-loaf Mountain, and 
the elevated tump called the Table Hill. It is l^furdly 
possible for an intelligent mind to become conscious of 
the ineffable delight produced by the beauties and 
sublimities of nature, and the deep and mysterious 
thought, of which they are the source, without admit- 
ting the goodness of that Great Being, who has miper^ 
added this enjoyment to the mere exercise of the 
faculties by which they are perceived. It is through 
His benevolence, that every scene becomes to man the 
minister of improvement and gratification, — '' the sun, 
th^ earth, the ocean, the mountain's towering height, 
the green and golden vale stretching far out below ' its 
mantle gay.' 

''And evexy odorous plants and brighter thing, 
Bom of the sonny akief, and weeping rain, 
That, from the bosom of the Spring, 
Starts into life and beauty onoe again.' 


J < - ;7 


Let the traveller^ then, whose heart and eye are thus 
instructed and delighted, thank God^ and go forward. 

In a deep recess of the Black Mountains, at the 
extremity of the county of Monmouth, and occupying 
the gloomy vale of Ewias, stand the shattered ruins of 
Llantony Abbey.* As if in unison with the barren 
rocks that environ it, scarcely a single tendril of green 
ivy has crept up the surfac'e of its solemn walls, to hide 
the severe simplicity of its monastic architecture ; and 
but here and th^e a stripling shrub surmounting its 
parapets, throws its brief shadow over the crumbling 
fragments of the sacred pile. The ponderous roof, and 
the southern and eastern walls, lie prostrate on the 
ground ; but the pointed arches, reposing on massy piers, 
with a series of small circular arches, and fragments of 
elaborate mouldings, remain to show the corresponding 
magnificence of those parts of the structure which they 
sustained and adorned, and to prove' the mixed Saxon 
and Norman style of this fine edifice. A portion of 
the great tower yet exists, and the western front still 
stands in solitary grandeur. The valley, which formerly 
afforded employment for the holy brotherhood, now 
yields its scanty herbage to the browsing flocks of the 
neighbouring farmer; and some ancient trees, at 

* Giialdns has described Ewias after this manner : " A valley in 
Wales, not &rre from Brecknock, where stoade a religious house, 
called Llanthodoni. It is so encompassed with hilles round about, 
that Koger, the byshop of Salisbury, was wont to saye merely of it» 
that ' al the king's treasure would not suffise to make a cloyster to 
this house/ At this place had Gyraldus Cambrensis a house and 
lyvinge to it." Llantony Abbey is distant from Crickhowel about 
seven miles ; and the varied and majestic scenes which present them- 
selves on every hand, will furnish interesting subjects for a day's 


different points^ mark in their green and yellow leaf, 
the passage of the seasons^ and remain as the grey 
chroniclers of this dreary solitude. The brawling 
Honddi, swelled by the mountain torrents^ rolls a fret- 
ful tide over its bed of broken rocks, and washes the 
southern side of the valley. Behind the ruins rise the 
Hatterell Hills, or, as they are sometimes called, the 
Mountains of Ewias, and beyond them the rocky peaks 
of the Black Mountains, over which the foot of man. 
has scarcely ever trod, seeming as if to shut in this 
little spot from the observation of all the world. 

Llantony Abbey was of the Cistercian order, and its 
history is to be gathered from the traditions of the 
early times. The legends teU that Saint David, the 
uncle of the renowned King Arthur, when he first 
beheld this solitary valley, was charmed with its entire 
seclusion from the world, and built a chapel on the 

"Here wm it, sinnger, that the patron a&int 
Of Cambria passed his age of penitence, 
A solitary man ; and here he made 
His hermitage, the roots his food, his drink 
Of Honddi's mountain stream." 

One day, carried far out of his track in pursuit of the 
wild deer, which haunted these savage hills, a knight 
retainer of the earl of Hereford came unexpectedly 
upon the saint's retreat. The knight was struck with 
awe at the deep solemnity of the place. He saw the 
little hermitage, and near it the recess where the holy 
man performed his early devotions, in which was placed 
a small crucifix, and those emblems of mortality which 
the grave supplies. The mysterious air that pervaded 


the scene into whicli he was thus suddenly introduced, 
and the complete silence that reigned around, broken 
only by the sullen murmur of the Honddi's stream, 
filled the mind of the knight with devout enthusiasm. 
He instantly forsook his chivalrous career — withdrew 
from all connection with the world, and, in the words 
of the record, " laid aside his belt, and girded himself 
with a rope ; instead of fine linen he covered himself 
with hair-cloth ; and instead of his soldier's robe, he 
loaded himself with weighty irons. The suit of armour, 
which before defended him firom the darts of his ene- 
mies, he still wore as a garment to harden himself 
against the soft temptations of his old enemy Satan ; 
that as the outward man was afflicted with austerity, 
the inner man might be secured for the service of God. 
That his zeal might not cool, he thus crucified himself, 
and continued his hard armour on his body until it 
was worn out with rust and age.'' The fame of the 
anchorite's sanctity drew one devout associate to his 
cell, Ernest, confessor to Maud, wife of Henry I., and 
inspired many wealthy and powerful nobles with great 
reverence for his character. Amongst the latter was 
Hugh de Lacey, who founded the priory of the order 
of St. Austin, on the site of the little hermitage. Llan- 
tony Abbey has experienced strange vicissitudes, and 
has been the subject of many whimsical circumstances, 
in the course of its eventful history, till it was finally 
suppressed, with that of the same name in Gloucester- 
shire, at the Reformation. Thus ends the legend of 

" LUntony, famed in monkish tale, 
And once the pride of Kwiae' vale." 


A coQtinuouB histoiy of that division of the Princi- 
pality to which this work belongs^ did not enter into 
the Wanderer's plan^ but only such occasional sketdies 
as were connected with the scenes and objects which 
came before his eye. He found, however, in the book 
of that old geographer Peter Heylyn, a summary which 
he deemed would not be unacceptable to his readers, 
and this he gives in the chronicler's own words : — 

" The princes of South Wales are : — 

877 1 Cadell. 


907 8 HoBLL Dra. 
948 4 OwxK. 
5 Ekkas. 

6 Thiodorb ths Gbbat. 
1077 7 Rhxss I. 
1093 8 Griffin I. 

9 Rhkbx II. 
10 Griffin II. 

In whom ended the line of the princes of South Wales, 
after they had with great stru^ling maintained their 
liberty^ the space of 300 yeares, or thereabout. The 
English Nobility had at severall times plucked msny 
Townes, Lordships, and almost whole Shires, from this 
principate ; which were all againe recovered by this last 
Griffin ; who not long enjoying his victories, left the 
fruits of them to his two sonnes, Cynerick and Mere- 
dith ; both whom our Henry Second tooke, and put out 
their eyes. Yet did the Welchmen, as well as in such 
a time of calamity they could, wrestle and tugge for 
their liberty, till the felicitie of Edward the First put 
an end to bUl the warres and troubles in these parts.'' 

The last chapter of a book is something like the last 
day of a long and friendly visit. The sojourner spends 
it in adjusting all claims at the house of his host — in 


winding up the long family stories — and in leave-taking 
amongst all the acquaintances he has happened to make. 
The Wanderer over Cambria's land of marvels and 
minstrelsy has sought to fulfil the pretensions with 
which he took up his palmer's staff, 

*'And wore hU sandal-Bhoon and scoUop-BhelL" 

He now closes his book of legends; — and to all those 
surpassing beauties of mountain, hill, and valley; of 
open sea, and broad river, and whispering stream, 
associated, as they have been, with the most stirring 
passages of history, poetry, and romance ; chequered, 
too, by the gay sunshine and the dark storm, — ^the 
roving joy and weary pain of a long pilgrimage — he 
bids a last and lingering Farewell. 

''There is » pleasure in the pathless woods. 
There is a rapture in the lonely shore. 
There is society where none intrudes. 
By the deep sea, and musio in its roar ; 
I lore not man the less, but Nature more. 
From these our interviews, in which I steal 
From all I may be, or have been before, 
To mingle with the universe, and feel 
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal." 



Abbbts of Cwm Hir, 72 — Margam, 
264— Llantony, 325— Strata Flo- 
rida, 28-27— 'nntern, 148-153. 

AfiEBEDW Hill, 90— Village, 91— 
Gantle, 91— SnDBet, 91. 

Abbbowili, Tillage of, 21 9— Bishop's 
palace, 219— MerUn's HiU, 220. 

Abebtstwith, ita delightful situa- 
tion, 8 — ^ViewB from, 8 — Castle 
hUl, 4— Streets of, 10— Marine 
terrace, 10 — Perilous situation of 
a sloop, 11 — Skilful captain, 12— 
Ghost stories, 12— Church of, 12 
—Wild flowers, 18— Beach of, 13 
— ^Amuaements, 14 — ^Bathing, 15 
— Fishing, 15. 

Abbbtstwith Castle, 5— History 
o( 5— Taken by Glyndwr, 7— 
Glyndwr's palace, 8. 

Baolahd, 262— Mason, the poet, 

Banaoob Cbaos, 154. 


BouoHBOOD Castle, 92. 

Bbeokkock Mebb, 40. 

Bbecknock Castle, ancient name 
of, 804— History of, 805 — Priory 
church, 309 — St Maiy's church, 

Bbbckkockbhibe, remarks on, 800. 

Bbeoon, buildings of, 818 — ^neigh- 
bourhood r>f, 814. 

Bbidoend, 266. 

BuoKLAin), 816. 

Bbookwsib, 147. 

Builth, 86— Park wells, 89. 

Builth Castle, history of, S6^^ 
The final retreat of Llewelyn, 87 
— "Bradwyr Buallt," 87— Flight 
of Llewelyn, 88— Death of, 88. 

Caxbphillt Castle^ description of, 

279— Monastery, 280— History 

o^ 280. 
Cabaooo of Llaboabvah, 29. 
CABDmr, history of, 272— Town of, 

Cabdioan, 204— Excursions from, 

Cabdioak Bat, 8— Formerly a tract 

of land covered with cities, 4^ 

Beautiful view of, 62. 
Cabdioan Castle, 204 — ^Histoiy 

o( 204. 
Cabdioahshibe, sceneiy of, 87-59. 
Cabew, yiUage of, 188. 
Cabew Castle, appearance of, 188 

— ^Reddence of Welsh princes, 

189— Feetivitius at, 189— Age of, 

190— Early cross, 190. 
Cabmabthen, situation of, 218— 



Hirtoiy o( 214— Chnroli of St. 
Peter, S15— Monnmenti^ 216— 
Sir TbomM Pioton, 217. 

Casbio Cxmrxir Cabtim, hutoiy o( 

Cabtli Coch, 274. 

Cabtlu or Abeiyitwith, 6 — ^Aber- 
edw, 91— BuUth, Sd-CMrphiUj, 
279— Carew, 188— CMtlifUi, 204 
•^Cnrreg Gennen, 280 — Chep- 
stow, 167^Cooh, 274— Dvnra- 
ven, 269 — Dyneror, 228— Good- 
rich, 128— Haverfordwest, 195— 
Hay, 95— KidweUy, 288— KH- 
garran, 207 — Llangoed, 92 — 
Llewhaden, 198— Maeelough, 92 
— Manorbeer, 170 — ^Oystermonth, 
258— Pembroke, 175— Pennarth, 
259— Pioton, 195— Preeteign, 78 
—Radnor, 76— St QnintiD, 270 
—Tenby, 165 — WUton, 118 — 
Yfttradmeurig, 86. 

Chspotow Gastlb, 157— By whom 
built, 158— Entrance to, 158— 
Hall, 159 — Subterranean yaults, 
159 — ^Monastio remains, 160 — 
Bridge on the Wye, 161— The 
Wye, 162. 

Clsddon Shoots, 147. 

Clifford Cabtli, 94— Birthplace 
of Fair Rosamond, 95 — Histoiy 
of Rosamond, 95 — ^Anecdote of 
Lady Anne Clifford, 96— Site of 
castle, 97. 

CoiTT, village of, 268. 


CoFPXB AND Lead Mines of Car- 
diganshire, 56 — History of, 56 — 
Mines of Daren, 59. 

CoTTAOis, Welsh, 43 — Chimneys, 

CowBBIDOl^ 271— Gothie gate, 271. 

CmAiOTDniAS, 292— BreBtide, 895. 

Ceaio-t-UiTK, 288. 

CucKHOwn^ 815 — Antiqiiity o^ 
820— Chunsh o^ 821. 

CB06SW00D, seat of Lord Lisborae, 
24 — Rostio mills, 25— Mountain 
straams, 25— PwU Ckradoo, 26. 

CwM Elan, 75-^8. 

CwM PoBTH Cavbbn, 299. 

Ctnbio Bxvmb, 815. 

Ctnwtl Elfid, 212. 

Davtdd AFGwiLTif, 29^2— Poetry 

Ditil*b Bbidos, road to^ 15 — 
Glen of the Bheidiol, 16— Chann 
of the Mynadh, 16— Hie bridge, 
16— Fearftil Soene, 17 — Four 
fiUls, 18— Plant Mat^ 18— Byron's 
lines on the Falls of Fenii, 19— 
Hafod Anns Inn, 19. 

DowABD Hill, 188. 

BrISB of ten WiLSB LABfllB, 84 

—Hats, 85. 
Bruidical Stbuctuxx, 42. 
Dbtsltn Castli, 217-222. 
DuNRATBM Castls, 269— History 

of, 269. 
Dtnnvob Park, 226— Beautiful 

view, 227— CasUe, 228— Round 

tower, 229. 

Eptnt Mountains, 801. 
£?rxNNT Pbiort, 266— Towers of, 

267 — Church o^ 267 — Revenues 

o( 268. 

Fishguard, 199— Salubrity o^ 200. 

French Embarkino at Llanwnda, 
230 — Driven away by Welsh 
women in red cloaks, 201. 



Gabth Hill, 92. 

GioiFBBT or MoKMOUTB, 28— Brat 
7 Brenhineodd, 29. 

OmALDUS Oambbbnbis, birthplaoe 
0^171— HiBtoiy 0^171. 

Olasbubt, 92. 

Goats, 88. 

gookbddan, 59. 

Golden Gbovx, 281. 

GooDBiOH CouBT, 114— Site o( 115 
— ItB architectorey 115 — Orna- 
ments, 116 — Pictures, 118 — 
Asiatic armoury, 118 — Painted 
window, 119— Grand annonrj, 
121— Charles I., 122— Doucean 
Museum, 122— Chapel, 128 — 
Remarks, 124~ChiTali7, 125— 
Heraldry, 126. 

GooDBiOH Castle, appeanmce of, 
128— Gateway, 129. 

GooDwiCK Beach, 200. 

GBONaAB Hill, 217-228— Boman 
Camp, 224— Dyer, 224. 

Gbufftdd ap Bhts, 5. 

GwENDBAXTH, Stream o^ 256. 

Hatod, road to, 20— Picturesque 
arch, 20— Beautiful yiew, 21— 
Mansion, 21 — Cumberland's de- 
scription of, 22— Grounds o^ 22 
— Colonel Johnes, 22 — Cwm 
Tstwith, 28. 

Habbwood, 109. 

Hatxbiobowbst, situation o( 194 
—Castle oi; 195. 

Hat, 98— Histoiy of, 94. 


Hebxfobd, 100— Cathedral, 100— 
Histoiy of, 101— Monuments, 102 
— PulpitHsross, 104— Dinedor hill, 
105— Beautiful view, 106. 


Ithov Rivbb, 85. 

Kenabth, church and Tillage of, 

Ebnohbstbb, 99 — Eaton eamp, 99. 
KmwELLT, 288— History oi; 288. 
KiDWELLT Castle, 288. 
EiLOABBAN Castle, 207— Histoiy 

of, 208. 
Ktxik, The, 188— The Backstone, 


Lakes of— Five lakes, 89— Llyn 
Fach, 289— Llyn Pawr, 289— 
Llyn Sayaddan, 40— Llyn Teiyy, 
89— Llyn Vathey, 40— Llyn yr 
A&nge, 87. 

Laxfhet Palace, ruins of, 178 
— Curious epitaph on Agatha 
Wellsbum, 174— Loneliness of, 

Lewis Mobbis, the Welsh anti- 
quary, 9. 

LmsTip, fine view from, 169. 

Llanbadabk, 9— St. Padam, 8— 
Church of, 8— Monuments in, 9 
— ^Lewis Morris, 9. 

Llaedait, 275— Cathedral of, 276 
—History o^ 277. 

Llaedbglbt, 81. 

Llaedilo Fawb, 225 — Countiy 
round, 225— History o( 226. 

Llaedooo, Tillage of, 147. 

Llanbllt, 257. 

Llavoaitock, 822. 

Llavoobd Castle, 92. 

LLAEauBio, 68— Public house, 68. 

LLAKraEPBAV Castle, account of, 
168— Village, 169. 




liLAirroirT Abut, 825~Mm68 o( 

825— HiBtorj o( 826. 
Llakwbthwl, 84. 
Llich Ctvok, 41. 
Llbwhaokx Cabtlb, 198. 
Lltk Face, 289. 
Lltn Fawb, 289. 
Lltk Vathbt CaiKOLAfly 40— Site 

of the a&dent dtj of Tregaron, 


Maislouoh Cabtle, 92. 

Makobbub, village o( 170. 

Manobbbeb Oastlb, mine of, 170 
— Stately magnitude of, 170 — 
Birthplace of GinJdue Cambren- 
eiBi 171— Beeoription of, 172— 
Ezteneiye proepecte^ 172 — ^Baj^ 

Maboax, 268. 

Maboam Pabb:, 268 — Abbey o( 

Mbltb Riveb, 297. 

Mbbun, life of, 220. 

MiLFOBD Havxit — Pennar Mouth, 
191— Striking acene, 192— Town 
of, 192— Ship on fire, 198. 


Monmouth, approach to, 188 — 
Priory, 184— Geoffrey of Mon- 
mouth, 184 — Appearance of 
Monmouth, 185— Trade of, 186 
— ^Bridge, 187 — ^Ancient inetitu- 
tion, 187. 

Monmouth Cabtlx, 184. 

Mountain Patbiots, 65. 

Mountains of Aberedw, 90 — 
Fawr, 98— Gam Englyn, 208— 
Graig y Dinae, 292 — Doleyan 
Hill, 85— Bpynt, 801— Gwasta- 
den, 88 — Plinlimmon, 66 -* 

Bhiwgraig, 85 — ^Yrenny Fawr, 

Mumblb'b Liohthoubx, 258. 
Mtdolktov, Sib Hugh, 57. 

Kanot Fujx, 55. 

Nant £08 Pabk, 24— Itfl beaaUfii] 

situation, 24. 
Nbath, 260— River of, 261— Val« 

of, 289. 
Kewcabtli Emltn, 210— Beautiful 

Buneet, 211. 
Newfobt, 208— Druidical remainj 

at, 204. 
Newfobt Cabtlx, 208. 

OwxN Gltndwb, 7, 8, 66, 76. 
Otstebmouth Castlb, 258 — Village 
of, 259. 

Pembbx Hill, 256. 

Pkmbbokb, situation of, 177 — Gat« 
of, 178— Churches o^ 178— Plea 
eant walks from, 179 — Dockyard, 
179 — Pater vilhige, 179 — St 
Govan's Head, 180 — Stackpol< 
Court, 181. 

Pbmbbokb Castlb, ruins of, 175— 
Vast extent o^ 1 75 — Desonptioo 
o^ 176— History of "Nest," 176 
— Cromwell's attack on, 177- 

PSNALT, church of, 144 — Ancieni 
custom, 145 — Autumn, 145. 

Pbnlinb Castlx, 271. 

Pbnnabth Castle, 269 — ^Arthur'a 
Stone, 260— Our Lady's Well, 

Picton Castle, park of, 195 — 
Architecture o( 196 — Remark 
by Mr. Fenton, 196. 

PnsBCEFisLD Pabk, extent of, 155 



sera SI 


of, 177-^*' 
o!, IJ^^ 

on, IJ""' 

|;'8 Well, 


— Majeetic woods, 166 — Mr. 

Yalentine Morris, 166— Llancaut 

Crags, 167 — Splendid view, 167. 
Plinldocon, hiBtoric annals of, 66 

— ^The source of five rivers, 67. 
PUKLDCMON Hotel, 66. 
Pont ab Cotht, stream o^ 221. 
Pont Hebwid, 63. 
Pont Neath Vauohan, 293. 
Pont Pwll Gwtn, 304. 
Pont Rhtdfendig AID, 27 — Small 

inn, 84. 
Pont t Pbibd, 284 — Bridge of, 

284— Water&ll, 286. 
Pbestteion, 78— Wapley Hill, 78. 
Pbesteign Castle, 78. 
Pbincbs of South Wales, 328. 

Eadnob, 76 — Old Radnor, 77 — 
Leland, 77 — Stanner Bocks, 77 
— KniU Court, 77— Vale of, 79— 
Water-break-its-neck, 80— Wild 
glen, 80. 

Radnor Castle, 76. 

Ragland Castle, beauty of, 140 — 
"Visits of Charles L, 141— Foun- 
twn Court, 142— Parks, 142. 

Redbbook, 146— Pen y van Hill, 

Rhal^tb, 70 — Bridge of, 72 — 
Delightful valley, 72. 

Rheidiol Riveb, 4, 9, 63 — Pictu- 
resque mill, 66— Chasm, 64. 

Rhianooll Riveb, 317. 

Rhondda Riveb, 286. 

Rhts, Db. John David, 313. 

RiVBBS OF Castell, 64— Clewedog, 
72 — Cothey, 221— Elan, 76— 
Hepste, 297— Irvon, 86— Ithon, 
85— Melte, 297— Neath, 260— 
Purthen, 291— Rhondda, 285— 

Rheidol, 4, 9, 68— Tiff, 168, 276, 
283— Teivy, 27, 37, 204— Towey, 
168— Usk, 303— Wye, 61, 67, 82, 
97, 147, 162— Ystwith, 4. 

RoBESTON Wathen, 197— Agree- 
able companion, 197 — Pictures, 

RosEMABT Topping, 131. 

Ross, 109— Kyrle, 109— Coleridge, 
110— Church of, 110— Ehn trees, 
111— Story of. 111— "The pro- 
spect," 111— May Hill, 112— 
WUton, 113. 

Sib Rhts ap Thohas, 236, 266. 

Slebeck, 197. 

South Wales^ compared with the 
North, 1 — More rife in historical 
associations, 2. 

St. Donatt's Castle, 270. 

St. Govan, promontory of, 184 — 
Loneliness of, 186. 

St. Quintin's Castle, 270. 

Stackpole Coubt, noble park of, 
181 — Description of, 1 82— Lovely 
prospect, 183. 

Steele, Sib Richabd, 218. 

SuoABLOAF Mountain, 324. 

Supebbtitions, 48 — Corpse candle^ 
48 — Cwm Annwm, 49 — Doomed 
families, 61 — Anecdote, 62 — Sin- 
eater, 62 — Anecdote, 68 — ^Fairies, 

Swansea, situation o( 268 — Bay 
of, 268. 

Stmond*s Yat, 132. 

Table Hill, 824. 
Taff Riveb, 283. 
Tal t Bont Yale, 199. 
Taliesin's Bed, 60. 



Tabbsu. Biyvb, 81& 

Tatlob, Db. Jbbsmt, S81. 

Tbivt, livtr ot, 27, 87, 204 — 
Beftven, 87— Barton'i Aooonnt 
o( 88— Likke of, 39. 

l^UffBT, its BituAtton, 164— Oaldy 
laUnd, 164 — ^Far-exteDding Tiew, 
164— Cboroh, 165— Momunentiiy 
165— Mode of Uving at, 166— 
Yaofating, 167— The TtM and 
Towey, 168. 

Tbnbt Castlb, dilapidated wallii 
of, 165. 

TarnsBJX Abbbt, poBition o( 148 — 
EjEtent of rnin, 148 — Distant 
landscape, 149 — Books, 150 — 
Monuments, 150 — History o( 
151— Prospects from, 152— First 
sight o^ 152 — ^Musings on, 153 — 
Moss oottage, 153. 

TiKTBBB PaBYA, 147. 

TowBT, vale o( 222. 
Tbboabov, ancient city of, 40. 
Tbelboh, dniidical antiquities, 143. 
Tbxtoweb Oabtlb, 817. 
Tbot Housb, 143. 

UsK Vallbt, 818. 
UfiK BnrsB, 808. 

Watmbtalls of Melte, 801— Pur- 
tlien, 291— Pont y Pridd, 285— 
Bhondda, 285 — Teivy, 209 — 
Water-break-its-neok, 80. 

Wbddinob, 46. 

Wblbh CovtAQMBB, 45— Dtsss o^ 
45— Food o( 45. 

Wblbh Tbiao, 2. 

Wilton Gabtu, 118. 

WlBDCLnT, 154. 

Wtb, The, 61— Beautifnl soeneiy 
of, 68 — Moonlight, 70— Ohasm, 
71— Bioh soenety o( 82— Pro- 
of, 97. 

Ybowd EnaoK Gabv Watebfali^ 

YsTBAD Pflub, abbey of, 27 — 
History of, 27— Its wealth, 28— 
Its monks the first historians of 
Wales, 28— Tomb of Dayydd ap 
Gwilim, 29 — ^Bnins of, 80— Beau- 
tiful gateway, 80 — ^Lines on« 81 
— ^Former greatness o( 31 — ^Pre- 
sent ohuroh, 82. 

YSTBAD Mbibio, its excellent school, 
35— Edward Bichards, 85— His 
pastorals, 86— Situation ofYstrad. 
86— Castle o( 86— History o( 86.